June 14, 1963 RCMP Memo Re: Information from Simma Holt
ROYAL CANADIAN MOUNTED- POLICEDivision File No. E. 1131-5-1Detachment: Special "D" Section
Vancouver, B.C. -14-JUNE-63
SVOBODNIKI — Information from Simma HOLT
1. During the course of our investigation on Doukhobors generally the following theory was disclosed by Vancouver Sun reporter Simma HOLT regarding the bomb murder of Peter the Lordly VERIGIN at Farron, B.C. in 1924. Her research suggests the theory that Peter the Lordly's murder was instigated by his son Peter II (Chistiakov). This, she states, is supported by the following:
"In order to understand the story of the bitterness of Peter Petrovich VERIGIN (Chistiakov) — second ruler in Canada — it is necessary to know the bitterness that was fostered in him from earliest infancy against his father, Peter Vasilivich VERIGIN (Lordly) or Peter I.
It all goes back as far as the rule of Loukeriya (1844-1886), wife of Peter KALMIKOFF, who died and left her in charge. She had her eye on Peter VERIGIN when he was just a child and she already a young married woman. She told VERIGIN'S mother that someday she would claim the boy, who was then only nine.
When Peter was growing up into a handsome man and she saw him in his late teens she was more determined to have him. At 20 he fell in love and married Dunia KATELNIKOFF in 1878. Loukeriya hit the roof and as soon as spring came she drove her horses through (complete with luxurious entourage of handmaidens and servants) to his home to force him to leave Dunia. She was angry at everyone but Peter, who she adored. She forced him to leave Dunia and went to the courts, the first case in which Doukhobors ever resorted to law — she got a legal divorce from Dunia for him.
Dunia's parents and family despised Peter. There was terrible feeling. In 1880 [sic — in 1881] he abandoned his wife and headed for the Wet Mountain headquarters of Loukeriya. Peter II was born one month later.
Throughout his life Peter II heard nothing but the slyness, the meanness, the abandonment of him and his mother by Peter I. The KATELNIKOFF hate was deep within him.
Meanwhile, Loukeriya built a shrine to Peter and no other human being but she and Peter were allowed into it. On her death in 1886 (and some say she was murdered) there was a split. The people who liked the peace she had brought and the money, went with her brother Michael HOBUNOFF, and the largest group led by Ivan MAKORTOFF followed Peter. These were the less stable group.
There was another split when Peter ordered them to abstain from sex, including relationships with their wives, abstain from eating meat, smoking or drinking. These people followed Peter and the others who were getting a little sick of it all broke away. Then in 1895 there was another split over the burning of the arms, and Canada got the split of splits of splits, and always filtration's of the worst elements.
In either case Peter Lordly came to Canada in 1902, three years after the 7363 Doukhobors. He had occasionally written to Dunia from his prison in Siberia in connection with Peter, but he was still despised by her and the family.
But, in 1906 in Canada, he wanted to see her and wanted to see his son and new grandson. Peter II was curious about Canada and the mother was also interested. So they came. Peter II was then 24. He was a heavy drinker and gambler by then. Dunia came not only with Peter but with Peter's wife Anna, their baby son Peter Petrovich, a daughter (Anna MARKOVA presumably) and a devilish 16-year-old named Peter MOROZOFF.
Peter [Chistiakov] had promised the people in Russia he would see if he could find land for them in Canada. He got money from them (as usual) for this purpose. He told them later they would not like Canada.
According to Jim Wright (in Slava Bohu) the father and son were so much alike that the young Peter knew exactly what to say and do to rile his father, and he spent his time doing this. He was constantly baiting him. The mother was openly disillusioned and she made no secret of her bitterness toward Peter the Lordly. They (mother and son) lived in separate houses across from the father. Only the grandchildren gave Peter any solace. He was sorry he had brought them to Canada.
The good Doukhobors apparently were shocked at Peter's swaggering, lewd talk, his cigarette smoking and his impudence to his father. ...
Peter the Lordly was shattered by all this [and ordered his son and former wife to return to Russia, which they did.] ..
September 16, 1927 Peter II arrived in Canada [from Russia]. ...
When he first came here he said in one of his long-winded speeches (usually two hours minimum) that:
"I know who killed my father. Many times I felt angry and revengeful, but Christ within me said, 'Forgive them, they know not what they do.' "
The Doukhobors felt he meant the government did it — that he knew that, and no doubt that there were a few people who were scared that Peter would release the names.
Here is my theory:
I figure that Peter hated his father bitterly for the abandonment of his mother, also because of the hate inculcated by his mother's parents and relatives. He heard nothing else. When he came to Canada in 1906 he saw a mint of dough his father was making out of these ignorant people. He didn't like his father any better on meeting him. Meanwhile the wild element among the Doukhobors liked the high living Peter and he made friends with them in 1906.
As he grew older his love for money and gambling grew. He knew where there was a pile of it. He wasn't doing too well on the people in Russia and he thought the Canadian types could do better — from what he saw of his father's prosperity and later learned from his friend of the great empire his father had built in the CCUB. He was in trouble with the Russian government. He was being thrown into jail periodically. He felt certain (and probably the people he was corresponding with encouraged him) that he would be the successor to his father. He knew that even if he did not come to Canada he could get thousands of them (and he did in the three years between 1924, his father's death, and the time he came here in 1927). He probably wanted to speed his inheritance and at the same time get rid of his father who he dispised.
Anyhow I am sure that he masterminded the murder. It was the first Doukhobor bomb and the bombing started again (VERIGIN'S Tomb attempt — May 25, 1930) after he came to Canada. ...
This is a theory but it has a lot of solid foundations. You have the Doukhobors broken up among themselves; you have the other segments of the Doukhobors shattered, embarrassed, changing names so no one will know they are Doukhobors; and for the past year you have had people talking.
Another point was MAKAROFF said — to me and to the Doukhobors at the Historical Society meeting — that when Peter II was dying Peter MAKAROFF told him the CCUB was finished, that the lawyer (MAKAROFF) had the foreclosure order in his hand. MAKAROFF said – Peter Chistiakov sighed 'Praise be God, I have succeeded in destroying all that my father did.'"
S.U.I.J. Stinson Sgt.
i/c Spl. "D" Sec.