As a result of Moscow’s policies, Russia has become an international “outcast,” and “only those who are not interested in anything going on around them cannot see the prospect of a repetition of the fate of the USSR’s collapse.” Cossacks like other nations must be prepared for that development or their interests will once again be ignored or sacrificed, the appeal says.
Today, “every Cossack man and woman must decide what he or she wants,” it continues. They must overcome any tendencies to ignore bigger issues and focus only on their own narrow ones. Only by so doing and by combining with Cossacks across Russia will they be able to defend and advance the interests of their people.
“The All-Cossack Social Center (VOTs) calls all active Cossack men and women to unite under the declaration of the main strategic Goals of the Cossack People” the recognition of the Cossacks as a people, the formation of a single nation state based on that identity, and the creation of nation state Cossack formations.
In VOTs, the Cossacks already have their own Russia-wide organization, and it has four regional subdivisions, the National Council of the Cossacks of the Far East, the National Council of the Cossacks of the Don, the Great Brotherhood of Cossack Hosts, and the Caucasus Cossack Line.
Below them are dozens of local Cossack organizations that have already chosen to affiliate with VOTs. A list of them with an email contact for their leaders is appended to the appeal, and the authors of the VOTs declaration call on Cossacks either to affiliate with those or to form their own groups and affiliate with VOTs.
Only the future will tell whether this effort will be a success, but it is the most elaborate effort to organize Cossacks across Russia from the Caucasus to the Arctic and from Kaliningrad to the Pacific Coast. As such, it is testimony to the growing importance of Cossack identity for many and to the ability of Cossacks to use the Internet to organize.
In the past, the tsarist and Soviet regimes were able to use both the geographic dispersed nature of Cossack hosts to prevent the emergence of a pan-Cossack movement. But now the Internet have given members of these communities an opportunity to organize and to oppose efforts by the Kremlin to exploit these divisions and hijack the movement.
As a result, historians are likely to look back on this date as the occasion when the Cossacks from all the Russias found a common voice, not in the distant past but in the most modern form of communication, the Internet.