Tatiana Pavlova (1937-2002) was a Russian historian and translator. A member of the Institute of General History of the Russian Academy of Sciences, she was a historian of 17th and 18th century pacifism and utopianism in England. Her books included John Bellers and One Hundred Years of Russian Pacisfism. Her translations included “Plea for the Poor; George Fox Speaks for Himself; The Orthodox Pastoral Service; John Woolman’s Journal; and Portrait in Grey. Raised in the harsh life of the Soviet Union –her father died in a Stalinist labor camp – and living through the difficult post-Soviet Union period, she survived much in her life.
Pavlova was a member of the Religious Society of Friends through the Friends World Committee for Consultation’s International Membership Group. She grew up during a time when religion was discouraged in Russia. Because Karl Marx approved of John Bellers, the Quaker economist, however, she wrote her graduate thesis on Bellers. During her research, especially since Russia had a history of prisons, she was struck by the story of 164 Friends who volunteered to take the place of imprisoned Quakers who had been jailed for several years. The thesis was published as a book in 1979. In the early 1980’s, after reading her book, British Friends William Barton and Peter Jarman made contact, and in the mid-1980’s American Quakers visited with her. In 1990 she joined the Society and began inviting people to gather for Meeting for Worship in her Moscow apartment. In 1992 she went to Pendle Hill as a Friend-in-Residence. The Moscow Meeting outgrew her home and now rents a large space. They have helped elderly people with financial support; offered classes on the Bible and Quaker literature; published a bi-monthly newsletter; and spoken to the Russian military about peacemaking. Small Quaker groups also exist in St. Petersburg, Veri, Electrostal, Kazan and Barnaul as well as in Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Belorussia, Georgia, Krygyzstan and Ukraine.
Friends House in Moscow was established in 1996 and has been very active throughout Russia. They have participated in a peace march into Grozny during the Chechen War; run an Alternatives to Violence Project; offered information on conscientious objection and alternatives to military service; shared information on Quaker faith and action to interested people; operated a hospice; and provided support to children in need. In 2016 they gave a grant to preserve in electronic form the deteriorating Tolstoy Papers in the Chertkov Archives.
Tatiana Pavlova was an internationally-known and highly-respected historian. She was also the seed for Friends in Russia in modern times.