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russian sect

Doukhobors, pacifist religious sect of Russian origin. They derive their name from the Russian word meaning “spirit wrestlers.” Nonconformist peasants formed the first Doukhobor communities in Russia in the 18th century; they held that all men are equal and should be treated as brothers. Therefore they refused to fight or kill. The sect was repeatedly persecuted by the Russian government and the Orthodox clergy. Under Nicholas II the Doukhobors were driven from their farms. They went first to Cyprus in 1898 and then in 1899 to Canada, where about 7,500 immigrants settled.

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