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Among Russian Sects and Revolutionists

The Extraordinary Life of Prince D. A. Khilkov

Graham Camfield

In his lifetime Prince Dmitrii Aleksandrovich Khilkov (1857–1914) became known in a number of seemingly contradictory roles and contexts: courageous officer, Tolstoyan, defender of the oppressed, leader of the Dukhobor exodus, revolutionary terrorist and returning Orthodox prodigal. Born into one of Russia’s ancient aristocratic families, with close links to the court, he chose an unexpected path that led him deep into the Russian countryside and brought him to the very edge of the Empire. Renouncing a brilliant military career, he gave up almost all his land to the peasants and settled on a small farm at Pavlovki, Khar’kov province. There, his support for peasants at variance with local landowners and the Church brought him into conflict with authority, both civil and ecclesiastical, and led to his exile, firstly among religious dissidents in Transcaucasia and later among political émigrés in Switzerland.
Using a wide range of often obscure published sources, this book explores Khilkov’s extraordinary life through his autobiographical notes and the accounts of many who knew him, among them Lev Tolstoi and his disciples, the Marxist Vladimir Bonch-Bruevich, fellow members of the Socialist Revolutionary Party and the Orthodox clergy who guided him back to the Church.

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Primary sources ‘Chto takoe shtundizm’, Beseda (Stockholm, 1895), 101–5 ‘Donesenie Evno Azefa: (perepiska Azefa s Rataevym v 1903–1905)’, Byloe 1 (1917) ‘Eshche o shtunde’, Beseda (Stockholm, 1896) ‘Iz Tsarskogo lista ot 20 Apr.–15 Maia 1898’, Byloe: sbornik po istorii russkago osvoboditel’nago dvizheniia 7 (1908), 101–3 ‘Kak ssylaiut za novoe uchenie’, (Geneva: Izd. M. K. Elpidina, 1893) ‘Kavkazkii geroi’, Letuchii listok 5 (30 April 1894), 2 ‘Novye materialy ob otluchenii L. N. Tolstogo (k 150-letiiu so dnia rozhdeniia)’, Voprosy nauchnogo ateizma 24 (1979) ‘O rabote V. I. Lenina v redaktsii gazety “Iskra”’, Istoricheskii arkhiv 6 (1955), 13–14 ‘O sektantakh’, Beseda (Stockholm, 1895), 165–9 ‘O shtunde. Za chto goniat baptistov’, Beseda (Stockholm, 1896), 24–8 ‘Obvinitelnyi akt ob otstavnom deistvitel’nom statskom sovetnike Aleksee Aleksan- droviche Lopukhine, obvinaemom v Gostudarstvennom prestuplenii’, Byloe: sbornik po istorii russkago osvoboditel’nago dvizheniia 9–10 (1909), 220 ‘Peregrinations of a disciple of Tolstoi’, Free Russia (1892), 10–13 ‘Sectarians on resistance or non-Resistance’, Free Russia (1903), 3 ‘Tolstoi v poslednee desiatiletie svoei zhizni: po zapisiam v dnevnike M. S. Sukhotina’, Literaturnoe nasledstvo. 69/2 (1961) ‘Voinstvuiushchaia tserkov’’, Golos Moskvy (08 November 1908) Abramov, I. S., ‘Tolstovstvo sredi krest’ian na Chernigovshchine: po lichnym vospom- inaniiam’, in N. N. Gusev, ed., L. N. Tolstoi: k 120-letiiu so dnia rozhdeniia (1828–1948) Letopisi Gosudarstvennogo literaturnogo muzeia, 12 (Moscow: Gos. lit. muzei, 1948), 464–5 Abrikosov, Kh. N., ‘Dvenadtsadt’ let okolo Tolstogo: vospominaniia’, in N. N. Gusev, ed., L. N. Tolstoi: k 120-letiiu so...

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