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Siberian Seven Collection

Overview

Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Siberian Seven

Kent Hill

Support Organizations

John Charles Pollock



Contact us about this collection

Siberian Seven Collection, 1978-1989 | Wheaton College Archives & Special Collections

By The Wheaton College Archives & Special Collections Staff

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Collection Overview

Title: Siberian Seven Collection, 1978-1989Add to your cart.

Predominant Dates:1978-1983

ID: SC/052

Primary Creator: Hill, Kent Richmond

Extent: 12.0 boxes. More info below.

Arrangement: The collection is arranged by series with folder level control.

Date Acquired: 00/00/1993

Subjects: Christian biography., Christians - Soviet Union., Freedom of religion., Hill, Kent Richmond, Hill, Kent Richmond - Correspondence., Pentecostals, Pentecostals - Soviet Union - Biography., Persecution - Soviet Union., Political refugees, Political refugees - Soviet Union - Correspondence., Protestants - Soviet Union., United States. Embassy (Soviet Union), Vashchenko, Lida

Forms of Material: Clippings, Correspondence, Photographs

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The Siberian Seven Collection dates primarily between 1978-1983, with some material dating to 1989. The collection documents the struggle of seven Pentecostals who sought refuge in the United States Embassy in Moscow in 1978.  The collection measures about 5 linear feet. The Siberian Seven's personal material consists of half the collection and consists mainly of their personal autobiographies and correspondence.  Their correspondence is chiefly with Kent Hill and his wife, with some correspondence consisting of appeals to the governments of the US and the USSR.  The photographs taken of the Siberian Seven are taken mainly in the American Embassy in Moscow.  Other photographs are of the Seven after their 1983 release in Israel.  Also included are maps, news clippings, articles, and expenses, all information pertaining to the Seven and their hopeful release. Kent Hill's personal material consists mainly of biographical information, his correspondence to Marianne Ridge of Christian Solidarity International, and correspondence to Paul and Annette Roush, who also spent time visiting with the Seven when Hill was working in the Embassy. Kent Hill wrote about the Siberian Seven in a number of publications concerning their stay in the Embassy that he submitted to Christianity Today and are a part of this collection. Remaining material is correspondence with support organizations who were working for the Siberian Seven's release.  Also included are photocopies of the manuscript, Siberian Seven by John Charles Pollock.

Biographical Note

Kent R. Hill, Ph.D. is Vice President for Character Development at the John Templeton Foundation. He is responsible for creating large-scale programmatic initiatives that engage fundamental questions regarding the nature, development, and benefits of the virtues and character strengths. These questions emerge from Sir John Templeton's passion for his Foundation to be a philanthropic catalyst for helping all of humanity to practice the virtues of love, honesty, generosity, gratitude, forgiveness, reliability, entrepreneurship, diligence, thrift, joy, future-mindedness, beneficial purpose, creativity, curiosity, humility, and awe.

Before joining the Foundation in early 2009, Dr. Hill served for seven and a half years in two Senate-confirmed senior administrative positions at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Washington D.C. As Assistant Administrator of the Bureau for Global Health, he was responsible for international health programs which in 2008 totaled $2.6 billion. As Assistant Administrator of the Bureau for Europe and Eurasia, he administered economic, democratic, and social transition assistance in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe with annual budgets averaging $1 billion. A particular focus of Dr. Hill's development leadership at USAID focused on nurturing the values necessary for democracy, free markets, and human health to take root and grow. He was USAID's senior interagency liaison for matters involving Trafficking in Persons.

Dr. Hill's previous career includes nine years as president of Eastern Nazarene College (Quincy, MA), six years as president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy (Washington, D.C.), and six years as a tenured history faculty member at Seattle Pacific University. An authority on religion in communist countries, he is the author of The Soviet Union on the Brink (1991) and has written and spoken widely on many topics, including democracy, human rights, religious freedom, Marxism, conflict resolution, G.K. Chesterton, John Henry Newman, church/state relations, education, interreligious dialogue, and international development assistance.

Dr. Hill received his B.A. in history from Northwest Nazarene College and an M.A. in Russian studies from the University of Washington (Seattle), where he also received his Ph.D. in history, with specialties in European intellectual history, Russian history, and East European history. He served in the United States Army as a Russian translator.

He is married to Janice, a reading specialist, and they have two adult children and one grandchild. He loves to travel, read theology and church history, hike, and play tennis. 

In 1978 seven Siberian Pentecostals crashed past Soviet guards and into the United States embassy seeking help in emigrating from the Soviet Union because of religious persecution.   Pyotr Vashchenko, Augustina, and their three daughters, Lidiya, Lyubov and Liliya along with fellow believers Mariya Chmykhalov and her son Timofei had traveled 2,000 miles by rail from the Siberian town of Cherno-gorsk.

Starting in 1961, Siberian officials began harsh anti-Christian campaigns and routinely disrupted Christian worship services and jailed many Pentecostal leaders. The Vashchenko children faced  harassment at school—ridicule, ostracism and beatings. The following year the Vashchenkos decided to educate them at home, but the state ruled them unfit and removed their daughters from the home and placed them in state homes until they turned 16. In January 1963, while Pyotr was in prison, Augustina and fellow Pentecostals made international headlines for forcing their way into the U.S. embassy seeking asylum. When they were promised better treatment they left. However, the Vashchenko’s home was confiscated, their jobs were lost and they were imprisoned.

Known to the outside world as “the Siberian Seven,” they have lived as uninvited guests in a grubby 12-ft. by 20-ft. room in the basement of the U.S. embassy on Moscow's bustling Tchaikovsky Street. They shared two beds and earned small change around the embassy washing cars, knitting garments, cleaning rooms.

Inspired by Soviet Dissident Andrei Sakharov, after three and a half years in the embassy basement Augustina and Lidiya Vashchenko began a hunger strike—stopping their eating in a desperate bid to win world attention and shame the Soviets into relenting. Their health failed quickly. Their plan worked as the severity of their situation gained international attention and the hunger strike became life-threatening. Pyotr Vashchenko was opposed to their tactics because of his understanding of the Christian teaching against suicide.

While in the embassy, the group completed a 225,000-word account of their heart-rending saga, reworked by John Pollock as The Siberian Seven. Their experiences reveal the sufferings that Christians behind the Iron Curtain had been compelled to bear. It has been noted that the case of the Siberian Seven is a good example of the gravity of the human rights situation inside the Soviet Union.

According to an account by Kent Hill, he and his wife were living in Moscow as Kent was a Fulbright schola doing PhD research when they became acquainted with the Siberian Seven holed up in the U.S. Embassy. He ended up translating materials that they had brought with them to the embassy which documented the persecution of unregistered believers. This began a long saga that took five years to resolve before the Soviets gave them permission to emigrate. As for Kent, it was personally important because it initiated him into the plight of Christians in general under communism and was a life-changing event to meet them.

Subject/Index Terms

Christian biography.
Christians - Soviet Union.
Freedom of religion.
Hill, Kent Richmond
Hill, Kent Richmond - Correspondence.
Pentecostals
Pentecostals - Soviet Union - Biography.
Persecution - Soviet Union.
Political refugees
Political refugees - Soviet Union - Correspondence.
Protestants - Soviet Union.
United States. Embassy (Soviet Union)
Vashchenko, Lida

Administrative Information

Repository: Wheaton College Archives & Special Collections

Alternate Extent Statement: 4.5 linear feet

Access Restrictions: There are no specific restrictions on this collection.

Use Restrictions: Duplication may be restricted if copying could cause damage to items.

Acquisition Source: The Siberian Seven Collection was donated by Mr. Kent Hill and was received in the Spring of 1993.

Acquisition Method: Gift

Preferred Citation: Siberian Seven Collection (SC-52), Wheaton College Special Collections, Wheaton, Illinois.

Other Note: The collection documents the struggle of seven Pentecostals who sought refuge in the United States Embassy in Moscow in 1978 and spent five years awaiting an opportunity to emigrate. In 1978 seven Siberian Pentecostals crashed past Soviet guards and into the United States embassy seeking help in emigrating from the Soviet Union because of religious persecution.   Pyotr Vashchenko, Augustina, and their three daughters, Lidiya, Lyubov and Liliya along with fellow believers Mariya Chmykhalov and her son Timofei had traveled 2,000 miles by rail from the Siberian town of Cherno-gorsk.

Other URL: http://library.wheaton.edu


Box and Folder Listing


Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Siberian Seven],
[Series 2: Kent Hill],
[Series 3: Support Organizations],
[Series 4: John Charles Pollock],
[All]

Series 3: Support OrganizationsAdd to your cart.
Box 9Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Business Correspondence From Ambassador Malcolm Toon, to Mr. James A. Gittings, April 3, 1979Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Business Correspondence regarding The Vashchenkos in the U.S. Embassy and their treatmentAdd to your cart.
Folder 3: Business Correspondence Letters written on behalf of the seven in the American Embassy and their treatment thereAdd to your cart.
Folder 4: Personal Correspondence regarding Vashchenko's story in the U.S. Embassy and their treatmentAdd to your cart.
Folder 5: Report, "Embassy Fact Sheet," sent out late May 1982, regarding Vashchenko's arrival and stay at the EmbassyAdd to your cart.
Folder 6: Report, Two CSI's visit to the State Department, it was a confrontation about the rules/regulations placed on the seven in the embassy", 1980Add to your cart.
Folder 7: Report, regarding Vashchenko/Chmykhalov cases, health, family issuesAdd to your cart.
Folder 8: Report, Senate Report, "Expressing the sense of the Congress with respect to the treatment of Christians by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, 1980, Congressional Record, June 27, 1980Add to your cart.
Folder 9: Statements, Oliver, Spencer, "Statement on Principle VII," 1980- Kampelman, Max M., "Statement...U.S. Delegation Plenary Session-CSCE," 1981Add to your cart.
Folder 10: Articles, Lynch Kevin, "Down and Out in the American Embassy," "The Guests in the Basement," "Waiting for Mr. Reagan"Add to your cart.
Folder 11: Newsclippings, regarding The Vashchenkos in the U.S. EmbassyAdd to your cart.
Folder 12: Notes, regarding Case against the U.S. Embassy on negative treatment of Vashchenkos and ChmykhalovsAdd to your cart.
Folder 13: Paper [European Effort], Danny Smith "The Price of Peace"Add to your cart.
Folder 14: Articles, Buzz, Hall, David, "Suburbian Seven?" Oct., 1981; Buzz, Hall, David and Steve Goddard, "Diary of a Demonstration," August 1981Add to your cart.
Folder 15: Correspondence Mostly Business Correspondence between CSI, Buzz (Danny) and Hruby, 1980-1982Add to your cart.
Folder 16: Correspondence to H. Stuckelberger, from Wilgot Fritzon, March, 1979Add to your cart.
Folder 17: Correspondence Copies of letters sent to CSI, copied in order to keep track of Soviet mail system, 1979Add to your cart.
Folder 18: Business Correspondence Rev. H. Stuckelberger, President of Christian Solidarity International, 1978-1979Add to your cart.
Folder 19: Business Correspondence Marianne Ridge for CSI, March-July, 1979Add to your cart.
Folder 20: Business Correspondence CSI, Oct-December, 1978Add to your cart.
Folder 21: Business Correspondence CSI, Jan-June, 1979Add to your cart.
Folder 22: Business Correspondence Christian Solidarity International, 1978Add to your cart.
Folder 23: Business Correspondence CSI, in French, and German, 1978-1979Add to your cart.
Folder 24: Business Correspondence from many individuals who are interested in CSI/Siberian Seven, 1979Add to your cart.
Folder 25: Business Correspondence CSI, 1979Add to your cart.
Folder 26: Business Correspondence CSI, 1980Add to your cart.
Folder 27: Business Correspondence CSI, 1980-1981Add to your cart.
Folder 28: Business Correspondence CSI, 1982Add to your cart.
Folder 29: Conferences, CSI Conference, 1979Add to your cart.
Folder 30: Publicity/Travel Notes, CSI, Not DatedAdd to your cart.
Box 10Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Publicity, Coalition for the Siberian Seven, 1981Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Congressional Resolutions, House Joint Resolution No. 82 and House Floor Resolution No. 82-107Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Government Action/Policy, Congressional Resolution 100 in the House of Representatives, March 25, 1981Add to your cart.
Folder 4: EWNS, East/West News Service, February 1, 1982Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Publicity, EWNS, News packets and special reports, Oct. 1980/1982Add to your cart.
Folder 6: Business Correspondence regarding The SevenAdd to your cart.
Folder 7: Business Correspondence between Kent Hill and Danny Smith, 1982Add to your cart.
Folder 8: Flyers/Papers, regarding The Seven (in many languages)Add to your cart.
Folder 9: Newsclippings, regarding The Seven, Not DatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 10: Newsclippings, regarding The Seven, 1978-1983 (many languages)Add to your cart.
Folder 11: Publicity/Pamphlets, regarding The Seven and British involvement, 1982-1983Add to your cart.
Folder 12: Publicity, regarding The Seven, 1983Add to your cart.
Folder 13: Reports, Darrel Darby report on going to the USSR and meeting with the Seven and Soviets, September, 1979Add to your cart.
Folder 14: Pictures, Evangelism to Communist LandsAdd to your cart.
Folder 15: Evangelism in Communist Lands, Letters and documents giving examples of persecution and unjust treatment of the Vashchenkos and others, translated by Kent HillAdd to your cart.
Folder 16: Reports, Atkinson, David and David Dick report on the meeting with the Committee for the Defense of Religious FreedomAdd to your cart.
Folder 17: Pamphlet, pertaining to Evangelism to Communist Lands, 1955, 1979Add to your cart.
Folder 18: Pamphlet, pertaining to Evangelism to Communist Lands, 1980Add to your cart.
Folder 19: Pamphlet, pertaining to Evangelism to Communist Lands, 1981-1982Add to your cart.
Folder 20: Pamphlet, pertaining to Evangelism to Communist Lands, Not DatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 21: Publicity, Friends in the WestAdd to your cart.
Folder 22: News Clippings, "Groups and Individuals Who Helped," 1979-1982Add to your cart.
Folder 23: Correspondence Notes, "Groups and Ind.'s Who Helped," 1978-1979Add to your cart.
Folder 24: Correspondence "Groups and Ind.'s Who Helped," 1980Add to your cart.
Folder 25: Correspondence "Groups and Ind.'s Who Helped," 1981-1982Add to your cart.
Folder 26: Articles, "Oldline," 1978-1979Add to your cart.
Folder 27: Article, Fritz, Esther, "New Hope for the Siberian Seven," in The Christian CENTURY, Nov. 5, 1980Add to your cart.
Folder 28: Correspondence "Oldline," 1978Add to your cart.
Folder 29: Correspondence "Oldline," 1979Add to your cart.
Folder 30: Correspondence RCDA, 1980Add to your cart.
Folder 31: Correspondence RCDA, 1981Add to your cart.
Folder 32: Correspondence RCDA, 1982Add to your cart.
Folder 33: Correspondence RCDA with Hruby, 1978Add to your cart.
Folder 34: Correspondence RCDA with Hruby, 1979Add to your cart.
Folder 35: Correspondence RCDA with Hruby, 1980Add to your cart.
Folder 36: Correspondence RCDA with Hruby, 1981Add to your cart.
Folder 37: Correspondence RCDA with Hruby, 1982, 1983Add to your cart.
Folder 38: Correspondence RCDA with Hruby, Not DatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 39: Publicity, RCDA, "The Vashchenko Chronicle An Attempt to Emigrate: 1962-1978," "Religion and USSR: Vashchenko Case," "Soviet Law and Believers" 1978Add to your cart.
Box 11Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Publicity, Keston College, affil. with Society for the Study of Religion and CommunismAdd to your cart.
Folder 2: Business Correspondence Society for the Study of Religion and Communism, 1979-1982Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Business Correspondence Society of Americans for Vashchenko EmigrationAdd to your cart.
Folder 4: Correspondence SAVE, 1980-1981Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Publicity, SAVEAdd to your cart.
Folder 6: Publicity, Voice of SalvationAdd to your cart.
Folder 7: Publicity, Voice of Salvation Periodical, "Persecuted Church," 1982-1983Add to your cart.
Folder 8: Business Correspondence Research Center for Religion and Human Rights, Feb- May, 1977Add to your cart.
Folder 9: WWWC, Council Conversations: "The Siberian Seven..."Add to your cart.

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Siberian Seven],
[Series 2: Kent Hill],
[Series 3: Support Organizations],
[Series 4: John Charles Pollock],
[All]


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