Cossacks (Russia)

Country: Russia
Details of Formation: The Cossacks were originally armed horsemen protecting the Czars. They have a long tradition of being in state service. The Bolsheviks almost obliterated them. From the 1990s on, the Cossacks were seeking to gain a more important political role again. In 1991 a first agreement to protect borders was made with local authorities and more such agreements and increased use of Cossacks followed. They emerged from within society, especially from the Cossack ethnic group.
Details of Termination: --
Purpose: The Cossacks’ main purpose is to protect the borders and to help patrol the region to detect non-ethnic Russians. They are actively pursuing their purpose. Cossacks fulfill the same tasks as regular forces, but are regarded as an extra protective layer in the light of the country’s increasing doubts about its security and integrity. They are also used for short-time mobilization during events or holiday periods and to take measures beyond the legal means of regular police.
Organisation: Cossacks are used on a local level in cooperation with regional authorities. They have strong ties to the police. Their cooperation with the government was legalized in the Law on Cossacks. A new law (2006) by Putin gives the Cossacks broad rights and funding.
Weapons and Training: Cossacks are armed with hunting rifles, cold arms (swords) and carbines. They received carbines from the District departments in 1999. On 5th September 2001, the Prime Minister approved a resolution that cold arms should be part of the Cossack uniform.
Size: In 2012 a plan was set up to build a 400,000-strong Cossack unit by the end of that year. In July 2013, 1,300 Cossacks were reported to support law enforcement in the Krasnodar territory alone, with the total national number likely being much higher.
Reason for Membership: Cossacks have a long history of supporting the state in security tasks and are known for their bravery and fighting abilities. It is therefore likely that people identifying themselves as Cossacks deem it self-evident to participate in the Cossacks units to continue their ethnic heritage. In some occasions, Cossacks are paid for their tasks.
Treatment of Civilians: The Cossacks regularly commit violence against civilians, especially against non-Russians. This violence includes rapes, destruction of property and beatings. Their actions are tolerated and sometimes encouraged by the regular forces and the government.
Other Information: The name of the PGM, Cossacks, is ambiguous, as a lot of people in Russia refer to themselves as Cossacks but are not engaged in the PGM
References: Information was taken from news sources listed in the PGMD.