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Why Are Cossacks Making A Comeback in Russia?

At Moscow’s Kazachya Lavka, or Cossack Store, we don’t need to be abounding to be a Cossack. Their fake-fur chronicle of the famous red papakha shawl will set we behind about $10. The full regalia, from head to toe, and including the horsemen’s barbarous nagaika leather whip, will cost the ruble homogeneous of about $100. Today, the store has branches in several vast Russian cities and its online emporium delivers via the country.

While it competence be a boon for small business, the widespread accessibility of Cossack clothe comes at a price. In May, a group of men in papakhas pounded anti-corruption regretful Alexei Navalny and members of his Anti-Corruption Fund at an airfield in the strand city of Anapa. More than 20 organisation splashed the group with divert and a fight ensued. In the issue of the incident, there was substantial difficulty over the hecklers’ identities — even within the Cossack community.

The leader, or ataman, of the internal Anapa Cossack group, Valery Plotnikov, denied they had been partial of his 98-member-strong crew. He told media that “real” Cossacks had indeed attempted to break adult the scramble that had damaged out. Another informal former Cossack ataman, Vladimir Gromov, pronounced the men’s outfits were zero to go by. “Anyone can buy a papakha at any commemoration stall,” he said.

Other Cossack leaders sided with the assaulters. The head of the Taman multiplication of the Kuban Cossack infantry Ivan Bezugly, shielded the Cossacks and told the Ekho Moskvy radio hire that Navalny himself had “provoked” the fight by insulting a Cossack colonel. And yet another male who identified himself as a Cossack was widely cited in the media as observant the attack on Navalny had been politically motivated.

The commander of a Cossack section on active use in the Kharkov region, Ukraine, on June 21, 1942, examination the progress of his troops.

“We usually wanted to show them that there is no room here for Navalny who lives on American money,” the man who identified himself as Dmitry Slaboda was quoted as observant by the Govorit Moskva radio station. Several requests for comment from Slaboda by The Moscow Times went unanswered.

The who’s-the-real-Cossack doubt that followed the incident goes over a simple matter of uniform. The attack on peaceful antithesis activists, including women and children, has fed concerns that the Cossacks’ romanticized past is being used to legitimize the actions of Kremlin-backed paramilitary groups. Ahead of parliamentary elections in September, it’s not usually opposition-minded Russians who are worried — some normal Cossacks are too.


Cossack enlightenment was all yet archaic when then-President Boris Yeltsin released a decree enlivening the reconstruction in the 1990s.

The Cossacks had served tsars for centuries, lending their sabers to help conquer Siberia, the Caucasus and Central Asia in return for land and privileges. Loyal to the Romanov dynasty and the Orthodox Church, they fought on the losing side opposite the Red Army in 1917. After pang defeat, hundreds of thousands of Cossacks were killed and persecuted underneath the Soviet process of “Decossackization.”

Yeltsin’s direct called for the replacement of Cossacks as an “ethno-cultural group.” By then, there were really few Cossacks left. Instead, the vacuum was filled with organisation of questionable Cossack ancestry, lured by a regretful prophesy of horsemen on the southern steppes. “The normal Cossack was a middle-aged male who daydreamed about congenital values, uncontrollable masculinity and the stately office of imagined ancestors,” says Brian Boeck, a historian who researched the Cossacks’ reconstruction in the 1990s.

In subsequent years, the Kremlin’s lapse to conservative values and a code of militant nationalism underneath President Vladimir Putin has done the deeply regressive and religious Cossacks a natural ally. Under Putin, purebred Cossack organizations have been set adult opposite the country and championed as a symbol of patriotism. Today, Cossacks’ clarity of patriotism, in some cases, runs forward of the Kremlin’s.

Bezugly, the Cossack ataman, late final year reportedly presided over the burning of effigies of U.S. President Barack Obama and Turkish President Recep Erdogan in the Kuban segment at a convene in support of Putin.

And in the lead-up to Russia’s cast of the Black Sea peninsula Crimea dual years ago, Cossacks in black woolen and fur hats stood ensure at the Crimean council and manned checkpoints opposite the peninsula. Later, underneath the direction of Don Cossack ataman Nikolai Kozitsyn, they streamed into eastern Ukraine to fight opposite Ukrainian supervision forces. There, they were assimilated by local converts, captivated by the glamourous uniforms, the Cossacks’ arms supplies, and, according to many reports, good salaries.

Cossack regiments in the early 20th century

Inside Russia, Cossack patrols have turn a kind of volunteer probity police. In Krasnodar, the southern segment where the attack on Navalny and his group took place, they were even put on the region’s payroll in 2012. Their increasing participation was widely seen as an attempt to keep in check an increasing series of migrants in the segment adjacent the restive Caucasus region. And even yet they had no management to conduct arrests or lift firearms, the message was that the Cossack figure alone would yield military with a tool of intimidation reduction compelled by the weight of public accountability.

“What we can’t do, the Cossacks can,” then-governor Alexander Tkachyov was cited as revelation military when he announced the creation of Cossack patrols.

The pouring of state income into local Cossack organizations has come underneath conflict following the Navalny incident. In 2015, roughly 1 billion rubles ($15 million) was sidelined for Cossack groups in the Kuban region, the RBC journal reported. Some are now doubt the legitimacy of funding groups with a reputation for close links to local crime. “Most of these Cossack squads include of local criminals,” says commentator Maxim Shevchenko. “The kind of riffraff that act like militias on behalf of local oligarchs. Real Cossacks don’t act in this way.”

Make Culture, Not War

According to Vladimir Gromov, who served as the ataman of the Kuban Cossack Army for 17 years, profitable Cossacks for serving alongside unchanging Russian military and military is not the issue. “No one works for a appreciate you,” he told The Moscow Times. At the same time, he believes the Kremlin’s concentration on incorporating the Cossacks into federal structures has overshadowed the traditional informative and spiritual aspects that are executive to Cossack identity.

“There is the government on one side. And Cossackdom on the other. They enter into agreement, fine,” he says. “But it shouldn’t conclude Cossackdom.”

Gromov cites a rich enlightenment of song and social traditions, including “respect” for women and the elderly, as executive to being a Cossack. Some of those traditions curve tighten to anachronism. As an example of proper Cossack conduct, Gromov pronounced in a widely reported twitter that womanlike smokers should be “flogged” with a Cossack whip as a way to discourage others. The tweet was after deleted.

Above all, respect and constraint are executive to Cossack conduct, says Gromov, disapproval the Navalny episode. “If Navalny is guilty of breaching Russian law, there are law coercion agencies that can and should forestall crime,” he says. “What do the Cossacks have to do with this? But the image that has stayed in people’s heads is that of Cossacks.”

Already, Ella Pamfilova, the head of the Central Election Commission, has denounced the activities of so-called groups of rhyazhenniye, or fake, Cossack groups. She pronounced there had been “an boost in aggressive function of such groups toward ideological opponents on the eve of electoral campaigns.” Regular law coercion has been branch a blind eye to these brute Cossack groups, she said.

Milk is thrown on opposition personality Alexei Navalny and his associates outward the Anapa Airport in southern Russia on May 17.

The rhyazenniye label — used for Russian medieval-era jesters and nowadays is mostly used negatively to describe those who wear a costume that is not their own — has been met with insurgency among the Cossack community. In an online statement, Nikolai Doluda, commander of the Kuban Cossacks, has called Pamfilova’s matter “incorrect and unacceptable.”

“It not usually offends the feelings of various generations of Cossacks and their families,” he said. “But it undermines the authority of all Russian Cossacks.”

One of the reasons for that feeling could be the Cossacks’ possess seductiveness to maintain a degree of obscurity as to who is, and isn’t, a “real” Cossack. In a census conducted in 2002, around 7 million Russians identified themselves as Cossacks, that could be taken as a sign that the Cossack reconstruction instituted in the 1990s has been successful. But, according to historian Boeck, the Cossack standing has mostly been archaic given the 1920s.

“More people who explain Cossack stock currently sojourn outward the official Cossack organizations than those embraced by them,” Boeck says. “So even the Cossack atamans competence not be noticed as ‘real Cossacks’ by most residents of the region.”

According to former ataman Gromov, describing groups as rhyazhenniye also does small to explain divided the incidental wrong function of Cossacks. “There are good Cossacks and not such good Cossacks,” he says. “In that sense, Cossacks are usually like any other people.”

Article source: http://www.themoscowtimes.com/article/570256.html