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RCMP Report Re: Bolshevik Agitation Amongst Doukhobors


Ottawa Ref. No. 24 D 376 J 7
S.S.D. Ref. No. 212- 316

Yorkton, Saskn., Jan. 16th., 1925.


Re: - Explosion on C.P.R. Train, Farron, B.C.
Bolshevik Agitation among the Doukhobors.

Referring to the above, I have to report that I proceeded to Canora, and Kamsack, on the 12th to the 15th., inst., and went into this matter as thoroughly as possible. [...]

I understand that a large implement (farm) company in the U.S.A were prepared to finance a trek of these people to Russia in the following manner, as Russia did not want them without farm equipment; the implement company would arrange for the sale of their (Doukhobor) lands here and fit them out with agricultural machinery and ship them to Russia, the Soviet Govt. would on their arrival allocate to them land and houses etc., taking a chattel mortgage on the implements etc., in return for payment in produce by the Doukhobors of rent etc., the chattel mortgage idea apparently frightened the Doukhobors and the scheme did not go through.

Victor Kaft was very active in endeavoring to bring both of these schemes to a successful conclusion, he is no doubt a Soviet Govt., agent, nationality is Georgian, he arrived in Kamsack sometime in 1918, is an educated traveled man and appears to be fairly well supplied with funds, although not living in any way extravagantly, he dress in Russian style this is a pose to appeal to the Doukhobor. I have known the man personally since 1920, having used him on odd occasions as an interpreter in Police court work and have purposely cultivated his acquaintance on my visits to Kamsack which were quite frequent about two years ago in connection with Inland Revenue work; I believe that he vas the subject of a personal history file by this Force and whilst not personally investigating this man's activities I have always pumped him as far as possible in a casual manner as to his activities for my own particular information for possible future use.

On arriving at Kamsack on the 13th., inst., I put my self in the way of meeting him. Kaft proposing a game of bridge with two others, after which I engaged him in conversation and in a casual way brought up the subject of the Doukhobors, indulging in a philosophical discussion with him as to the future of these people, amongst other things he told me that the Soviet Govt., at Moscow did not know of the actual whereabouts of Peter Verigin Jr., who was recently elected as leader of the Doukhobors in Canada and arrangements for whose arrival in Canada is now being made by the Russian authorities as a result of solicitations in this regard made by the Community Doukhobors in Canada, he thinks that after arrival here Peter Verigin will if he likes conditions in this country endeavour to bring the balance of his adherents in Russia estimated to be about two thousand, but there is a very great possibility of course of the Soviet Govt.. possibly refusing him re-entry as the particular brand of community life induced in by the Doukhobor is not quite on all fours with the Communism practiced by the Russian Govt., the religious side of the Doukhobor life conflicting to some extent. I gathered from Kaft that the Doukhobors generally are very interested in the attitude the Dept. of Immigration may take with regard to the entry into this country of Peter Verigin, he says that when the Moscow authorities finally located Verigin he was found to be in jail where he had been placed by some local authority as a result of claiming to be a saint, the soviet authorities with the rather brutal cynicism at time displayed by them said that if Verigin was a saint, the incarceration would not inconvenience him very much as he would no doubt exercise his supernatural power as a saint and be relieved of any inconvenience that might be caused him. [...]

With regard to the assumption by P. J. Verigin of the possibility of Peter Verigin having met his death as the result of the activities of some agent of the Soviet Govt., I can see no motive for such an action and my investigation does not disclose any.

The authorities are no doubt aware that there have been two factions among the Community Doukhobors in B.C. striving for supremacy this last few years, the split having been caused by the desire of the more liberal minded among the Community Doukhobors for schools and education within the Community, this has always been strictly tabooed by the Conventional Doukhobor, and has led to struggles between what I might call the Fundamentalists and Modernists among the Doukhobors resulting last year I believe in the burning of several schools on the property of the Community in B.C. last year.

As is well known the Doukhobor is recruited from the very primitive minded Russian peasant and as such is very lacking in self control and I think it quite possible that a member of the faction opposed to Peter Verigin whilst actuated by one of the emotional impulses these people give way to, was responsible for the Farron disaster.

[signed]J.W.Kampston, Sergt.,
(J.W. Kompston) Reg. No. 3187.
I. C. Yorkton Detachment

Source: Library and Archives Canada, Immigration Branch, Vol.185; File 65101; Part 11; (C-7340) (PAC), J.W. Kampston, RCMP Report Re: Explosion and Bolshevik Agitation, January 16, 1925.

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