Cornell University Press
  • Available June 2005
  • 376 pages
  • 5 maps
  • 18 halftones (photos)
  • Cloth cover
  • ISBN 0-8014-4242-7
  • $49.95 retail
  • $34.95 discounted

Nicholas B. Breyfogle
is Associate Professor of  History
at The Ohio State University. He
did his Ph.D. while at the
University of Pennsylvania.
He is Canadian-born and never
met Molokans or Doukhobors
until after his thesis. His research
interests include Russian
colonialism, inter-ethnic contact,
peasant studies, religious belief
and policy, environmental
history, and the history and
culture of Armenia, Azerbaijan,
and Georgia. See 2 more  photos
at the Doukhobor Centenary
in Canada Conference, 1999.

Heretics and Colonizers:

Forging Russia's Empire in the South Caucasus

by Nicholas Brenton Breyfogle,  Ph.D. (history)

Winner of the Outstanding Publication Award 2006, Ohio Academy of History

This new book is based on his 1998 Ph.D. thesis: Heretics and Colonizers: Religious dissent and Russian colonization of Transcausasia, 1830-1890 (Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia), 387 pages. Abstract and Introduction. Download the original 1998 Ph.D. thesis in .PDF format. It's very large = 18,423 KB. You need Acrobat Reader.

In Old Russia, "sect" refers to Russians who rejected their Orthodox faith, also called "heretics" and "dissenters". By law all Russians must obey the Orthodox Church, which meant that sectarians were criminals.

Though he never met a sectarian (Molokan, Doukhobor, Sabbatarian), Breyfogle spent 2 years in the 1990s in Russian archives investigating why and how about a fourth of them were moved into the Caucasus. He reports that in early 1800s they were feared as the "most infectious heresy" and "quarantined" in the Caucasus, but at the end of that century were praised as "ideal colonists" — patriots and model citizens for the 1900s.

CLICK to ENLARGE"In Heretics and Colonizers, Dr. Breyfogle explores the dynamic intersection of Russian borderland colonization and popular religious culture. He reconstructs the story of the religious sectarians (Dukhobors, Molokane, and Subbotniks) who settled, either voluntarily or by force, in the newly conquered lands of Transcaucasia in the nineteenth century. By ordering this migration in 1830, Nicholas I attempted at once to cleanse Russian Orthodoxy of heresies and to populate the newly annexed lands with ethnic Slavs who would shoulder the burden of imperial construction.

CLICK to ENLARGE"Breyfogle focuses throughout on the lives of the peasant settlers, their interactions with the peoples and environment of the South Caucasus, and their evolving relations with Russian state power. Breyfogle draws on a wide variety of archival sources, including a large collection of previously unexamined letters, memoirs, and other documents produced by the sectarians that allow him unprecedented insight into the experiences of colonization and religious life. Although the settlers suffered greatly in their early years in hostile surroundings, they in time proved to be not only model Russian colonists but also among the most prosperous of the Empire’s peasants. Banished to the empire’s periphery, the sectarians ironically came to play indispensable roles in the tsarist imperial agenda.

"The book culminates with the dramatic events of the Dukhobor pacifist rebellion, a movement that shocked the tsarist government and received international attention. In the early twentieth century, as the Russian state sought to replace the sectarians with Orthodox settlers, thousands of Molokans and Dukhobors immigrated to North America, where their descendants remain to this day."

30 surnames appear in his thesis, some with extensive reports explaining how they changed our history.

See Table of Contents of new book

In the late 1990s Breyfogle spent at least 2 years researching Russian history archives, including Canada, St. Petersburg, Moscow, and the Caucasus. Then he returned in the early 2000s. His expenses were covered by at least 4 grants — a 1997 "short-term grant" from the Kennan Institute, a $24,000 fellowship grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities for university teachers awarded September 1999 (also in the NEH 2000 Annual Report), $3,075 IREX Travel Grant for research in Georgia and Azerbaijan, and a short-term grant from the NEH awarded April 2000.

Addressing diaspora Dukhizhizniki
  • 2000 Aug 12 —  Los Angeles, California —  Cemetery chapel (chasovnya :  часовня), 7201 E Slauson Ave, City of Commerce. "Molokan History in Russia", a lecture by Dr. Breyfogle. Listed in Recognitions: Presentations. The meeting was organized by skazatel Jack Valov who first approached the UMCA for room use, but was denied, outsiders are forbidden to speak there and the UMCA ordered no more theses were allowed. All presvitery were invited, but half appeared. Most questions were about the origins of Pryguny and anything about M.G. Rudomyotkin. The thesis inspired George Mohoff to write The True Molokan.
  • 2005 July 23, Saturday, Noon  —  Los Angeles, California —  Cemetery chapel (chasovnya :  часовня), 7201 E Slauson Ave, City of Commerce. Dr. Breyfogle presented his new book and addressed questions. Jack Valov invited all Dukhizhiniki and The Heritage Club. Cemetery director Al Thomas purchased 2 cases of books to sell at cost.
  •  2015 March 7, Saturday, 5 pm — Kerman, California — Sixth Annual BBQ Chicken Appreciation Dinner, Kerman Senior Center, 850 South 8th Street, hosted by Grace for Hurting Hearts. Keynote speaker Dr. Breyfogle summarized his research and answered questions.

Book promotion and purchasing

Q & A   (January 2005 answers to questions sent in August 2004):

S novym godom! My apologies for the slow reply to all of your questions.

When is your book coming out? Can you get discounted copies? Will it get published in paperback?
The book should be out in the next couple of months. [June] Thanks to you and others who have purchased copies already. I'm sorry for the very high price [$50] — obviously not my choice at all. The publisher will wait to see how many hard-copies are sold before deciding on whether to publish a paperback.   Thank you very much for spreading the news about the book. I'm of course delighted that Molokans, Dukhizhizniki and Dukhobors will read it and I look forward to hearing the community's thoughts and responses. E-mail Dr. Breyfogle.

How much is different from the thesis? Did you add sections about the Crimean War, Russo-Turkish War, and Church building?
The book includes some revised chapters from the dissertation as well as four completely new chapters which deal with things like economic life in Transcaucasia, the Dukhobors' pacifist movement, and Molokan and Dukhobor emigration. It also includes all sort of new information based on my archival research in Tbilisi that was not in the dissertation. Information from my article on the Crimean and Russo-Turkish Wars is included (although not all since it is already published in Kritika [on list below]) but the information from the Church-Building article is not. It will be published next year as a separate article in an edited volume of essays on Russian religious history (more on this later).  The book also includes 5 maps (one of the South Caucasus, and one each of Molokan and Dukhobor villages in Tilfis, Erivan, Elisavetpol and Baku provinces). I was sorry not to be able to use the maps you have, but for a variety of reasons the maps I have here were the only option. There are also 19 images in the book. 6 of which are of Molokans. There are so many excellent Dukhobor photos easily available in the British Columbia Archives that we went with many of those.

In comparison, Molokan photos are rarer?
There are so many excellent Dukhobor photos easily available in the British Columbia Archives that we went with many of those. Molokan photos are not so much rarer — although there are fewer Molokan photos from pre-1900 than Dukhobors, at least that I've been able to see — but less accessible. As you know, Koozma Tarasoff donated thousands of Dukhobor photos to the BC archives for preservation. Since they are now in a public place, they are easily accessible for researchers like me. I gather that there are photographs of Molokans and Molokan villages in Russia pre-emigration but they are hard to find since they are held by individual families and the Heritage Center [at the LA-UMCA].

Will you be coming to LA? Several presbyters would like to arrange a larger meeting with you.
I have no plans at the moment to come to LA, but I'd certainly be happy to meet with the Dukhizhiznik Molokan community there again. I was very impressed and energized by my first visit (can it already be 4 years ago??).

Updated June 7, July 12 — Dr. Breyfogle has accepted an invitation to speak on Saturday July 23 at noon at the new LA Cemetery chasovnya (chapel), 7201 E Slauson Ave (east of Garfield Ave), City of Commerce. He will talk about about how Molokans got religious freedom 200 years ago and why a fourth of all Molokans (with other sects) moved to the Caucasus, the subject of his PhD thesis and book (above); and his recent research about Molokan Church Building (below). Keep looking for an outline of his talk and a pictorial report about his lecture afterward.]   Updated July 11

Correspondence continued June 17  
(My copy of Heretics and Colonizers arrived a few days ago, I pointed out an error — the old website address was published.)
Your Table of Contents seems brief, but great bibliography and index. Where's the detail map of Kars oblast?
... The table of contents is standard in format for this type of book. The bibliography is something I compiled, but shorter than I'd like. The Press only gave me a certain number of pages, so it is by no means complete and only represents about half of the books and articles I read during my research. The index was done by a professional indexer, so I had no part in it. Of course, the index is designed for a more general audience and obviously won't do all the things that you as a Molokan might want it to do. I'm unhappy not to have the Kars map, but again this was a decision of the publisher. Maps are expensive to publish and had they included a sixth map the book would have been even more expensive to buy. So, they decided in the interest of keeping the price below $50 (already very expensive, as you well know) to give me only 5 maps. No possibility of an error correction slip at this point. If the book is reprinted in paperback then I can make the change then. I'm really glad they included Jon's [Kalmakoff] comments. Again, this was something that the press did that I had no control over. Of course, your mention in the acknowledgements was my choice and I was glad to be able to thank you publicly for all your help over the years with the project.   Looking forward to seeing you in LA, Nick

More about Heretics and Colonizers later.....

Most of Breyfogle's works are listed here by date:

30 Surnames in Breyfogle's Ph.D. Thesis

Pages in original thesis
  1.  Anfimov 95
  2.  Bezzubstov 130, 289
  3.  Dobrynin 153
  4.  Donetskova 290
  5.  Gorbachev 299, 328
  6.  Gus'kov 129
  7.  Ivanov, Nikitin 
  8.  Ivanov, Nazar 328, 329
  9.  Ivanov, V. 299, 324, 326, 330, 331, 341-44
10.  Kanygina 292
11.  Khoritonov 296, 297, 317, 318
12.  Konovalov 307, 308
13.  Kozlov 292
14.  Loktionov 321
15.  Mironov 304, 313, 315, 316
16.  Nikitin 300
17.  Orlov 304, 313, 315, 316
18.  Pavlov 299, 300, 324, 326, 327, 328, 331, 332, 333, 342-44
19.  Petrov 102
20.  Podkovyrov 85
21.  Rodionov 300, 331, 332, 333, 344
22.  Samarin 201
23.  Sherbakov 235
24.  Shubin 186
25.  Tolmosov 328
26.  Tregubov 178 Footnote 74
27.  Uidin 319
28.  Voronin 299, 300, 326, 330
29.  Zholnina, E. 291
30.  Zholnina, U. 311, 312

CONTENTS of new book

Note on Translation and Transliteration
     Part I.  The Road to Transcuacasia
  1. Toleration Through Isolation
    The Edict of 1830 and the Origins of Russian Colonization in Transcaucasia
  2. To a Land of Promise
    Sectarians and the Resettlement Experience
     Part II.  Life on the South Caucasian Frontier 
  1. "In the Bosom of an Alien Climate"
    Ecology, Economy, and Colonization
  2. Heretics into Colonizers
    Changing Roles and Transforming Identities in  the Imperial Periphery
  3. Frontier Encounters
    Conflict and Coexistence between Colonists and South Caucasians
     Part III.  The Dukhobor Movement
  1. From Colonial Settlers to Pacifist Insurgents
    The Origins of the Dukhobor Movement, 1887-1895
  2. Peasant Facifism and Imperial Insecurities
    The Burning of Weapons, 1895-1899
  3. The End of  an Era and It's Meanings
Selected Bibliography

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