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VOA Connect (04/06/2018) Old Believers


((PKG)) RUSSIAN AMERICAN TOWN IN ALASKA

((Banner: Old Believers))
((Reporter: Natasha Mozgovaya))
((Camera: Alexander Bergan))
((Adapted by: Martin Secrest / Philip Alexiou))

((Map: Southern Alaska / Kenai Peninsula))

((MOTHER IRINA FEFELOVA, Priest’s Widow))
It was all desert. We started all of it. And then the Americans started coming over. They like it here. It’s quiet, very few people, not many cars.
((BANNER: Mother Irina is an Old Believer. Old Believers split from the Russian Orthodox Church in the 17th century.))
((ANIM. LOCATOR MAP showing ALASKA – KENAI PENINSULA))

((BANNER: Old Believers fled communism in Russia and established a village in southern Alaska.))
((MOTHER IRINA FEFELOVA, Priest’s Widow in Russian))

With the arrival of Communism, at first it was fine, but then they just started coming to the huts and taking everything. Our people used to have big families, the same as we do now, but you need to feed the kids. They would just come and take everything.
((BANNER: Nikolaevsk’s population is about 300. Men make a living fishing or boat building.))
((DENIS FEFELOV, RESIDENT))

We’ve built over 100 boats and now the boats are barely worn out. They stay functional. Instead of ordering new ones, people just sell them on. But we still build some.
((BANNER: Women wear traditional Russian dresses they sew themselves.))
((DENIS FEFELOV))

We are here for 40 years. Maybe some tourists that visit think that we have weird clothes, but the local people, they know us.
((BANNER: Old Believers speak Russian, and pray in Old Church Slavonic. The younger generation prefers English.))

((MOTHER IRINA FEFELOVA, Priest’s Widow))
Our kids speak Russian well. We spoke good Russian in the family, but their kids do not speak Russian. They come and can’t tell me what they need. It’s hard.
((BANNER: The Old Believers live in harmony with Alaska’s Russian Orthodox Church representatives.))
((FATHER MICHAEL OLEKSA, Russian Orthodox Priest))

Why make an issue over things that have nothing to do with doctrine or morality? These were ritual differences that, for the majority, had very little significance, but for them it was very important.
((BANNER: Café Samovar is a local tourist attraction.))
((Voice of NINA FEFELOV, Café Owner))

When they made a sewer here in 2002, I opened the café and the tourists can have borscht, piroshky, pelmeni and Russian tea.
((BANNER: Nina Fefelov goes to church everyday))
((NINA FEFELOV, Café Owner))

I can stand there with my husband. It’s a 100 percent happiness. I am praying with him. This is my happiness in life.

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