Alleged Sex and Threatened Violence: Doctor Russel, Bishop Vladimir, and the Russians in San Francisco, 1887-1892

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Stanford University Press, 1997 - History - 251 pages
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This book deals with a sequence of lively and often bizarre episodes within San Francisco's Russian community set in motion in early 1888 by the arrival in San Francisco of a new Russian Orthodox bishop—and his entourage, which included some twenty clergymen and eleven boys.

It did not take long for the bishop to clash with Dr. Nicholas Russel, a colorful Russian revolutionary exile who was one of the leaders of the Russian community. They became bitter enemies, and Bishop Vladimir's three-and-a-half-year tenure in San Francisco was punctuated by a series of remarkable scandals and lawsuits, by an excommunication, by an unconsummated duel, and by a host of lurid allegations that received extensive local publicity—including charges of arson, perjury, attempts to hire potential assassins, bigamy, and, most sensationally, sodomy and child abuse.

All of this centered around the combative bishop and his church administration, and eventually involved, in one way or another, a large part of San Francisco's Russian community, as people took sides with either the bishop or his tireless antagonist, Dr. Russel. These local furors reverberated in high places in St. Petersburg, as the procurator-general of the Holy Synod and officials of the Russian autocracy sought, in vain for the most part, to curb the bishop and bring peace to the local community.

This vivid example of "microhistory" sheds light on a number of intriguing issues, notably the workings of the Russian Orthodox Church outside Russia, the nature of European ethnic communities in late-nineteenth-century America, the mentality of the two protagonists (who represented widely different Russian social groups), Russian church-state relations, and nineteenth-century legal and sexual mores.

  

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Contents

Enter Bishop Vladimir
3
Nicholas SudzilovskyDr Russel
17
Anathema and the Morals Charge
35
The Bishop Fights Back
60
Dr Russels Agendas
81
Fedoroff Petitions the Grand Jury and Russel Revises His Past
92
Vladimir Defies Pobedonostsev and Makes His Journalistic Debut
100
The Bishop Threatens Russel
112
The Dungeon on Powell
119
ConsulGeneral Artsimovich vs the Alaska
140
n More Lawsuits
164
Artsimovich Defends Vladimir and
184
Exit the Bishop
194
Dr Russel as Author and Businessman
206
One Last Scandal and Exit the Doctor
217
Copyright

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About the author (1997)

Terence Emmons is Professor of History at Stanford University. He has written extensively on Russian history and on the Russian-American connection, most recently (with Bertrand M. Patenaude) War, Revolution, and Peace: The Passages of Frank Golder, 1914-1927.

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