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