The Freedomites waged a virtual guerrilla war in British Columbia against the modern world for decades, especially against other Doukhobors whom they viewed as backsliders. From 1923 to 1962, the Freedomites’ crime spree included over 1100 bombings and arsons. The authorities fought back with sentences of up to three years imprisonment for nude protesters, and seizing the sect’s children to send to state institutions.
The violence continued however, culminating in a series of 259 bombings in 1962 in just one region of British Columbia. Targets included ferries, railways, power lines and stations, hotels, courthouses, and the destruction of entire villages. The authorities finally decapitated the sect in March of 1962 by arresting sixty of its leaders, and charging them with conspiracy to intimidate the Canadian Parliament and the Legislature of British Columbia. With their leaders behind bars, the remaining Doukhbors rapidly assimilated into Canadian society. Relative peace has reigned since, while Canadian Doukhobor numbers dwindled from a peak of 40,000 to about 2,200 in 2011.
Where Did We Find This Stuff? Some Sources and Further Reading