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Government of Canada/BC

[ The Brilliant suspension bridge, built by the Doukhobor commune in 1913, Unknown, UBC Special Collections 15-15 ]

In the quarter century following the very welcome arrival of the Doukhobors, Canadian politicians and government officials and their provincial counterparts must frequently have regretted the winter morning in 1899 when these Russian immigrants stepped ashore in Halifax. British Columbia Premier John Oliver would put this view succinctly to the Canadian minister of immigration in 1925: “From the very first they [the Doukhobors] have been a source of trouble.” Did this antipathy towards the Doukhobors and Verigin extend to wanting to see Verigin dead? To actively plotting his death? Certainly some Doukhobors believed this at the time of Verigin’s death. In an open letter to the government of British Columbia on November 5, 1924, just days after Verigin’s death, Anastasia Holobova made exactly that accusation on behalf of the members of the Christian Community of Universal Brotherhood: “you have ravished our great wrestler. … Our opinion [is] that you have destroyed Mr. Verigin with intention to squelch the Community.” Interviewed in 1965 by Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers vainly trying to revive a forty-year-old cold case, Anastasia would repeat the same charge, and that view would persist among Doukhobors for years afterward. Did some level of government in Canada plot and carry out Verigin’s assassination?



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