Sunday, March 22, 2020

Kremlin’s Use of ‘Registered Cossacks’ Threatens All Nations in Russia, Cossack Activist Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, March 17 – Not willing to allow the Cossacks to emerge as a separate nation, the Kremlin beginning in the 1990s adopted a strategy of creating and supporting fake “registered” Cossack organizations made up of people with no Cossack background but more than willing to take government money.

            These “registered Cossacks” and Cossacks by blood and tradition are two entirely different things, the first an artificial identity while the second is a nation like any other and deserves being counted as a nation and having that status entitle its real members to certain benefits (

            But the Putin government ever more supportive of the “registered” kind has become ever more intolerant of and repressive toward the real Cossacks, something that has led some of the latter to conclude that what is going on is a hybrid genocide designed to finish what the Soviets started (

            Now Svetlana Glazina, a Cossack activist, goes further and suggests that what the powers that be in Moscow are doing to the Cossacks represents a model of what they intend to do to all the nations of the Russian Federation and thus is a threat not only to the Cossacks but to the others as well (

            “It is perfectly obvious,” she writes, “that one of the goals [of creating and publicizing] the registered Cossacks has been the final destruction and discrediting real Cossacks by blood who have by a miracle survived down to the present.” And “a second goal” is that such creations give the powers that be yet another way to hand out money to their cronies.

            But there is “a third goal,” and it is the most insidious and dangerous, Glazina says. It involves using the Cossacks as a laboratory for the creation of fake nations that it can then uses elsewhere to destroy among others, “Russians, Ukrainians, Armenians, Tatars and Bashkirs,” by setting up fake “nations” cut off from their roots.

            Such “unfortunates” will know nothing of “the traditions of their own people, won’t want to live the life of their own people or serve their people but will consider it normal” to dress up and act as if they are the real thing. “In essence, this is a tragedy, a tragedy not only of the Cossacks but of all the peoples of Russia.”

            “I would very much like,” she says, “that each of us understand that any, even the very smallest people in Russia are a gem which must be saved and protected.  One must not, you understand, cover them in dust because this will destroy them.”  The Cossacks know this already; others need to learn from their experiences past and present.

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