Photo Display Board: “The Family of an Idealist”
- Bokan, Nikolai, 1881-1942, Photographer
- Media Type
- Item Type
- A photo display board created by Nikolai Bokan in November 1936. The display board features portraits and brief descriptions about each of his seven children.
Among the photographs is a portrait of Konstantin Bokan. Konstantin died of starvation in June 1933. In the few months prior to his death, he had been working on a collective farm where he was overworked and poorly fed. He had left his family home earlier in the spring of 1933, as his parents were struggling to provide for their large family during the famine. It is unclear whether Konstantin was asked to leave or whether he left of his own accord. Konstantin would have been around twenty-two years old at the time of his departure from the family home.
Also featured is a photograph of Nikolai Bokan standing at Konstantin’s grave. In the text beneath the photos, Bokan states that Konstantin’s supervisor on the collective farm suggested that Konstantin suppress his hunger by smoking cigarettes. Bokan claims that this advice led to poisoning that contributed to Konstantin’s death.
The board also documents how Bokan’s son Vladimir was urged to leave the family home for a separate residence in 1932. Vladimir was likely around twenty-three years old at the time of his departure.
In addition to the children's portraits, the board features photographs that capture the consequences of their acts of defiance against their father (see "Inscription Details" for more information). Their rebellions were often prompted by Nikolai's insistence that they embrace Christianity and a Christian lifestyle.
Nikolai Bokan was an adherent of the Tolstoyan movement. The movement was based on the philosophical and religious writings of Leo Tolstoy, whose views were formed by the study of the ministry of Jesus. The movement promoted values of non-militarism, vegetarianism, and moral improvement, and aspired for the attainment of a rural, self-sufficient livelihood.
Among Nikolai's children, only Boris appears to have briefly engaged with Tolstoyan philosophies.
These dynamics within the Bokan family occurred amid widespread anti-religious sentiment propagated by Soviet authorities beginning in the late 1920s as a means of disseminating atheism and promoting loyalty to the state. These anti-religious campaigns coincided with the beginning of the forced mass collectivization of agriculture.
- A transcription of the Russian text and English translation are available in the "Inscription Details" document on the right-hand side of the screen.
- Date of Publication
- Nov 1936
- Image Dimensions
Image Width: 22cm
Image Height: 16.5cm
- Personal Name(s)
- Nikolai Bokan ; Vasilina Bokan ; Nikolai Bokan (Jr) ; Vladimir Bokan ; Boris Bokan ; Konstantin Bokan ; Anna Bokan ; Lev-Leonid Bokan ; Alexandr Bokan
- Local identifier
- Mykola Bokan
- Language of Item
- Geographic Coverage
Latitude: 51.34567 Longitude: 32.87794
- Copyright Statement
- Copyright status unknown. Responsibility for determining the copyright status and any use rests exclusively with the user.
- Location of Original
- State Archive of the Security Service of Ukraine: https://ssu.gov.ua/ua/pages/98
- Any reproductions of images from the Archive of the Security Service of Ukraine must include the following reference: Archive of the Security Service of Ukraine, fonds 6, case № 75489-fp, volume 2.
Iнформуємо, що при публікації документів ГДА СБУ обов'язкове посилання на місце їх зберігання за зразком: ГДА СБ України, фонд 6, справа 75489-фк, том 2.
- Reproduction Notes
- Reproduced with the permission of the State Archive of the Security Service of Ukraine.