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The term was applied initially to venturesome men who entered the steppe seasonally for hunting, fishing, and the…. Russian Cossack s also were removed forcibly from their home areas in the north Caucasus and elsewhere because of their opposition to collectivization and communist rule.

On security grounds, Stalin deported some entire small nationality groups, many with their own territorial base, such as the Chechen and….

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One army comprised Cossacks, Tatars, and Poles, and the other was led by a top Muscovite military commander of the era, Prince Aleksey Trubetskoy.

After terrible losses, Trubetskoy was forced to withdraw to the town of Putyvl on the other side of the border. The battle is regarded as one of the Zaporizhian Cossacks' most impressive victories.

In , however, Yurii Khmlenytsky asked the Polish king for protection, leading to the period of Ukrainian history known as The Ruin. The city was burnt and looted, and 11, to 14, of its inhabitants were killed.

The destruction of the Hetmanate's capital was a signal to Mazepa and the Hetmanate's inhabitants of severe punishment for disloyalty to the Tsar's authority.

In the second half of the 18th century, Russian authorities destroyed this Zaporozhian Host, and gave its lands to landlords.

To prevent further defection of Cossacks, the Russian government restored the special Cossack status of the majority of Zaporozhian Cossacks.

This allowed them to unite in the Host of Loyal Zaporozhians, and later to reorganize into other hosts, of which the Black Sea Host was most important.

Because of land scarcity resulting from the distribution of Zaporozhian Sich lands among landlords, they eventually moved on to the Kuban region.

The majority of Danubian Sich Cossacks moved first to the Azov region in , and later joined other former Zaporozhian Cossacks in the Kuban region. Groups were generally identified by faith rather than language in that period, [ citation needed ] and most descendants of Zaporozhian Cossacks in the Kuban region are bilingual, speaking both Russian and Balachka , the local Kuban dialect of central Ukrainian.

Their folklore is largely Ukrainian. The major powers tried to exploit Cossack warmongering for their own purposes. In the 16th century, with the power of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth extending south, the Zaporozhian Cossacks were mostly, if tentatively, regarded by the Commonwealth as their subjects.

Around the end of the 16th century, increasing Cossack aggression strained relations between the Commonwealth and the Ottoman Empire. Cossacks had begun raiding Ottoman territories in the second part of the 16th century.

The Polish government could not control them, but was held responsible as the men were nominally its subjects. In retaliation, Tatars living under Ottoman rule launched raids into the Commonwealth, mostly in the southeast territories.

Cossack pirates responded by raiding wealthy trading port-cities in the heart of the Ottoman Empire, as these were just two days away by boat from the mouth of the Dnieper river.

In and , Cossacks razed suburbs of Constantinople , forcing the Ottoman Sultan to flee his palace. Consecutive treaties between the Ottoman Empire and the Polish—Lithuanian Commonwealth called for the governments to keep the Cossacks and Tatars in check, but neither enforced the treaties strongly.

The Polish forced the Cossacks to burn their boats and stop raiding by sea, but the activity did not cease entirely. During this time, the Habsburg Monarchy sometimes covertly hired Cossack raiders against the Ottomans, to ease pressure on their own borders.

Many Cossacks and Tatars developed longstanding enmity due to the losses of their raids. The ensuing chaos and cycles of retaliation often turned the entire southeastern Polish—Lithuanian Commonwealth border into a low-intensity war zone.

Cossack numbers increased when the warriors were joined by peasants escaping serfdom in Russia and dependence in the Commonwealth.

Attempts by the szlachta to turn the Zaporozhian Cossacks into peasants eroded the formerly strong Cossack loyalty towards the Commonwealth.

The government constantly rebuffed Cossack ambitions for recognition as equal to the szlachta. Plans for transforming the Polish—Lithuanian two-nation Commonwealth into a Polish—Lithuanian— Rus' Commonwealth made little progress, due to the unpopularity among the Rus' szlachta of the idea of Rus' Cossacks being equal to them.

The Cossacks' strong historic allegiance to the Eastern Orthodox Church also put them at odds with officials of the Roman Catholic -dominated Commonwealth.

Tensions increased when Commonwealth policies turned from relative tolerance to suppression of the Eastern Orthodox Church after the Union of Brest.

The Cossacks became strongly anti-Roman Catholic, an attitude that became synonymous with anti-Polish. The waning loyalty of the Cossacks, and the szlachta 's arrogance towards them, resulted in several Cossack uprisings against the Polish—Lithuanian Commonwealth in the early 17th century.

Finally, the King's adamant refusal to accede to the demand to expand the Cossack Registry prompted the largest and most successful of these: the Khmelnytsky Uprising , that began in Some Cossacks, including the Polish szlachta , converted to Eastern Orthodoxy, divided the lands of the Ruthenian szlachta in Ukraine, and became the Cossack szlachta.

The uprising was one of a series of catastrophic events for the Commonwealth, known as The Deluge , which greatly weakened the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and set the stage for its disintegration years later.

Influential relatives of the Russian and Lithuanian szlachta in Moscow helped to create the Russian—Polish alliance against Khmelnitsky's Cossacks, portrayed as rebels against order and against the private property of the Ruthenian Orthodox szlachta.

Don Cossack raids on Crimea leaving Khmelnitsky without the aid of his usual Tatar allies. From the Russian perspective, the rebellion ended with the Treaty of Pereyaslav , in which, in order to overcome the Russian—Polish alliance against them, the Khmelnitsky Cossacks pledged their loyalty to the Russian Tsar.

In return, the Tsar guaranteed them his protection; recognized the Cossack starshyna nobility , their property, and their autonomy under his rule; and freed the Cossacks from the Polish sphere of influence and the land claims of the Ruthenian szlachta.

Only some of the Ruthenian szlachta of the Chernigov region, who had their origins in the Moscow state, saved their lands from division among Cossacks and became part of the Cossack szlachta.

The last, ultimately unsuccessful, attempt to rebuild the Polish—Cossack alliance and create a Polish—Lithuanian—Ruthenian Commonwealth was the Treaty of Hadiach.

The treaty was approved by the Polish king and the Sejm , and by some of the Cossack starshyna , including hetman Ivan Vyhovsky.

Under Russian rule, the Cossack nation of the Zaporozhian Host was divided into two autonomous republics of the Moscow Tsardom: the Cossack Hetmanate , and the more independent Zaporizhia.

These organisations gradually lost their autonomy, and were abolished by Catherine II in the late 18th century. In , the Lower Dnieper Zaporozhian Host was destroyed.

Later, its high-ranking Cossack leaders were exiled to Siberia, [60] its last chief, Petro Kalnyshevsky , becoming a prisoner of the Solovetsky Islands.

The Cossacks established a new Sich in the Ottoman Empire without any involvement of the punished Cossack leaders. With the destruction of the Zaporozhian Sich, many Zaporozhian Cossacks, especially the vast majority of Old Believers and other people from Greater Russia, defected to Turkey.

There they settled in the area of the Danube river, and founded a new Sich. There they formed a new host, before rejoining others in the Kuban.

Many Ukrainian peasants and adventurers later joined the Danubian Sich. While Ukrainian folklore remembers the Danubian Sich, other new siches of Loyal Zaporozhians on the Bug and Dniester rivers did not achieve such fame.

They settled in the area north of the Azov Sea , becoming known as the Azov Cossacks. But the majority of Zaporozhian Cossacks, particularly the Ukrainian-speaking Eastern Orthodox, remained loyal to Russia despite Sich destruction.

This group became known as the Black Sea Cossacks. Both Azov and Black Sea Cossacks were resettled to colonize the Kuban steppe , a crucial foothold for Russian expansion in the Caucasus.

During the Cossack sojourn in Turkey, a new host was founded that numbered around 12, people by the end of Their settlement on the Russian border was approved by the Ottoman Empire after the Cossacks officially vowed to serve the sultan.

Yet internal conflict, and the political manoeuvring of the Russian Empire, led to splits among the Cossacks. Some of the runaway Cossacks returned to Russia, where the Russian army used them to form new military bodies that also incorporated Greeks, Albanians, Crimean Tatars, and Gypsies.

The Black Sea Host moved to the Kuban steppe. The native land of the Cossacks is defined by a line of Russian town-fortresses located on the border with the steppe, and stretching from the middle Volga to Ryazan and Tula , then breaking abruptly to the south and extending to the Dnieper via Pereyaslavl.

This area was settled by a population of free people practicing various trades and crafts. These people, constantly facing the Tatar warriors on the steppe frontier, received the Turkic name Cossacks Kazaks , which was then extended to other free people in Russia.

The oldest mention in the annals is of Cossacks of the Russian principality of Ryazan serving the principality in the battle against the Tatars in In the 16th century, the Cossacks primarily of Ryazan were grouped in military and trading communities on the open steppe, and began to migrate into the area of the Don.

Cossacks served as border guards and protectors of towns, forts, settlements, and trading posts. They performed policing functions on the frontiers, and also came to represent an integral part of the Russian army.

In the 16th century, to protect the borderland area from Tatar invasions , Cossacks carried out sentry and patrol duties, guarding against Crimean Tatars and nomads of the Nogai Horde in the steppe region.

The most popular weapons of the Cossack cavalrymen were the sabre , or shashka , and the long spear. From the 16th to 19th centuries, Russian Cossacks played a key role in the expansion of the Russian Empire into Siberia particularly by Yermak Timofeyevich , the Caucasus, and Central Asia.

Cossacks also served as guides to most Russian expeditions of civil and military geographers and surveyors, traders, and explorers.

Cossack units played a role in many wars in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, including the Russo-Turkish Wars , the Russo-Persian Wars , and the annexation of Central Asia.

Napoleon himself stated, "Cossacks are the best light troops among all that exist. If I had them in my army, I would go through all the world with them.

These attacks, carried out by Cossacks along with Russian light cavalry and other units, were one of the first developments of guerrilla warfare tactics and, to some extent, special operations as we know them today.

Frenchmen had had few contacts with Cossacks before the Allies occupied Paris in As the most exotic of the Russian troops seen in France, Cossacks drew a great deal of attention.

Bistrots appeared at some point after the Cossack occupation of Paris. While some folk etymologies claim that the French word "bistro" dates from this period, when Russian troops supposedly shouted "Bystro!

It existed from the end of the 16th century until the early 20th century. There are two main theories of the origin of the Don Cossacks. Most respected historians support the migration theory, according to which they were Slavic colonists.

The various autochthonous theories popular among the Cossacks themselves do not find confirmation in genetic studies.

The gene pool comprises mainly the East Slavic component, with a significant Ukrainian contribution. There is no influence of the peoples of the Caucasus ; and the steppe populations, represented by the Nogais , have only limited impact.

Kuban Cossacks are Cossacks who live in the Kuban region of Russia. A distinguishing feature is the Chupryna or Oseledets hairstyle, a roach haircut popular among some Kubanians.

This tradition traces back to the Zaporizhian Sich. Local Terek Cossacks joined this host later.

In , the host was included in the Caucasus Line Cossack Host, from which it separated again in , with Vladikavkaz as its capital.

In , the population of the host was ,, within an area of 1. Their alternative name, Yaik Cossacks, comes from the river's former name, changed by the government after Pugachev's Rebellion of — The Ural Cossacks spoke Russian, and identified as having primarily Russian ancestry, but also incorporated many Tatars into their ranks.

Among them was Yermak Timofeyevich. Some escaped to flee southeast to the Ural River, where they joined the Yaik Cossacks. In , they captured Saraichik.

By , they were fighting on behalf of the government in Moscow. Over the next century, they were officially recognized by the imperial government.

As a largely independent nation, the Cossacks had to defend their liberties and democratic traditions against the ever-expanding Muscovy , succeeded by Russian Empire.

Their tendency to act independently of the Tsardom of Muscovy increased friction. The Tsardom's power began to grow in , with the ascension of Mikhail Romanov to the throne following the Time of Troubles.

The government began attempting to integrate the Cossacks into the Muscovite Tsardom by granting elite status and enforcing military service, thus creating divisions among the Cossacks themselves as they fought to retain their own traditions.

The government's efforts to alter their traditional nomadic lifestyle resulted in the Cossacks being involved in nearly all the major disturbances in Russia over a year period, including the rebellions led by Stepan Razin and Yemelyan Pugachev.

As Muscovy regained stability, discontent grew within the serf and peasant populations. Under Alexis Romanov , Mikhail's son, the Code of divided the Russian population into distinct and fixed hereditary categories.

Peasants were tied to the land, and townsmen were forced to take on their fathers' occupations. The increased tax burden fell mainly on the peasants, further widening the gap between poor and wealthy.

Human and material resources became limited as the government organized more military expeditions, putting even greater strain on the peasants.

War with Poland and Sweden in led to a fiscal crisis, and rioting across the country. Many went to the Cossacks, knowing that the Cossacks would accept refugees and free them.

The Cossacks experienced difficulties under Tsar Alexis as more refugees arrived daily. The Tsar gave the Cossacks a subsidy of food, money, and military supplies in return for acting as border defense.

The war with Poland diverted necessary food and military shipments to the Cossacks as fugitive peasants swelled the population of the Cossack host.

The influx of refugees troubled the Cossacks, not only because of the increased demand for food, but also because their large number meant the Cossacks could not absorb them into their culture by way of the traditional apprenticeship.

Divisions among the Cossacks began to emerge as conditions worsened and Mikhail's son Alexis took the throne. Older Cossacks began to settle and become prosperous, enjoying privileges earned through obeying and assisting the Muscovite system.

The lawless and restless runaway peasants who called themselves Cossacks looked for adventure and revenge against the nobility that had caused them suffering.

These Cossacks did not receive the government subsidies that the old Cossacks enjoyed, and had to work harder and longer for food and money.

The divisions between the elite and the lawless led to the formation of a Cossack army, beginning in under Stenka Razin , and ultimately to the failure of Razin's rebellion.

Stenka Razin was born into an elite Cossack family, and had made many diplomatic visits to Moscow before organizing his rebellion. They returned in , ill and hungry, tired from fighting, but rich with plundered goods.

But the ataman was Razin's godfather, and was swayed by Razin's promise of a share of expedition wealth. His reply was that the elite Cossacks were powerless against the band of rebels.

The elite did not see much threat from Razin and his followers either, although they realized he could cause them problems with the Muscovite system if his following developed into a rebellion against the central government.

Razin and his followers began to capture cities at the start of the rebellion, in They seized the towns of Tsaritsyn , Astrakhan , Saratov , and Samara , implementing democratic rule and releasing peasants from slavery as they went.

Their sieges often took place in the runaway peasant Cossacks' old towns, leading them to wreak havoc there and take revenge on their old masters.

The elder Cossacks began to see the rebels' advance as a problem, and in decided to comply with the government in order to receive more subsidies.

They captured Razin, taking him soon afterward to Moscow to be executed. Razin's rebellion marked the beginning of the end of traditional Cossack practices.

In August , Muscovite envoys administered the oath of allegiance and the Cossacks swore loyalty to the tsar. For the Cossack elite , noble status within the empire came at the price of their old liberties in the 18th century.

Advancing agricultural settlement began to force the Cossacks to give up their traditional nomadic ways and adopt new forms of government.

The government steadily changed the entire culture of the Cossacks. Peter the Great increased Cossack service obligations, and mobilized their forces to fight in far-off wars.

Peter began establishing non-Cossack troops in fortresses along the Yaik River. In , construction of a government fortress at Orenburg gave Cossacks a subordinate role in border defense.

This consolidated the Cossacks' transition from border patrol to military servicemen. Over the next fifty years, the central government responded to Cossack grievances with arrests, floggings , and exiles.

Under Catherine the Great , beginning in , the Russian peasants and Cossacks again faced increased taxation, heavy military conscription, and grain shortages, as before Razin's rebellion.

Peter III had extended freedom to former church serfs, freeing them from obligations and payments to church authorities, and had freed other peasants from serfdom, but Catherine did not follow through on these reforms.

The changing government also burdened the Cossacks, extending its reach to reform Cossack traditions. Among ordinary Cossacks, hatred of the elite and central government rose.

In , a six—month open rebellion ensued between the Yaik Cossacks and the central government. The first of three phases of Pugachev's Rebellion began in September After a five-month siege of Orenburg , a military college became Pugachev's headquarters.

The peasantry across Russia stirred with rumors and listened to the manifestos Pugachev issued. But the rebellion soon came to be seen as an inevitable failure.

The Don Cossacks refused to help the final phase of the revolt, knowing that military troops were closely following Pugachev after lifting the siege of Orenburg, and following his flight from defeated Kazan.

Opposition to centralization of political authority led the Cossacks to participate in Pugachev's Rebellion. The ordinary Cossacks had to follow and give up their traditions and liberties.

Cossack relations with the Tsardom of Russia were varied from the outset. At times they supported Russian military operations; at other times they rebelled against the central power.

After one such uprising at the end of the 18th century, Russian forces destroyed the Zaporozhian Host. Many of the Cossacks who had remained loyal to the Russian Monarch and continued their service later moved to the Kuban.

Others, choosing to continue a mercenary role, escaped control in the large Danube Delta. The service of the Cossacks in the Napoleonic wars led them to be celebrated as Russian folk heroes, and throughout the 19th century a "powerful myth" was promoted by the government that portrayed the Cossacks as having a special and unique bond to the Emperor.

By the 19th century, the Russian Empire had annexed the territory of the Cossack Hosts, and controlled them by providing privileges for their service such as exemption from taxation and allowing them to own the land they farmed.

At this time, the Cossacks served as military forces in many wars conducted by the Russian Empire. Cossacks were considered excellent for scouting and reconnaissance duties, and for ambushes.

Their tactics in open battle were generally inferior to those of regular soldiers, such as the Dragoons. In the s, the Ussuri , Semirechensk , and Amur Cossacks were added; the last had a regiment of elite mounted rifles.

Increasingly as the 19th century went on, the Cossacks served as a mounted para-military police force in all of the various provinces of the vast Russian Empire, covering a territory stretching across Eurasia from what is now modern Poland to the banks of the river Amur that formed the Russian-Chinese border.

This change from an irregular cavalry force that fought against the enemies of Russia such as the Ottoman Empire and France to a mounted police force deployed against the subjects of the empire caused much disquiet within the Cossack Hosts as it was contrary to the heroic ethos of frontier warfare that the Cossacks cherished.

In , the Shah of Iran, Nasir al-Din , who had been impressed with the equestrian skills and distinctive uniforms of the Cossacks while on a visit to Russia the previous year, requested that the Emperor Alexander II sent some Cossacks to train a Cossack force for himself.

By the end of the 19th century, Cossack communities enjoyed a privileged tax-free status in the Russian Empire , although they had a year military service commitment reduced to 18 years from They were on active duty for five years, but could fulfill their remaining obligation with the reserves.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the Russian Cossacks numbered 4. They were organized as independent regional hosts, each comprising a number of regiments.

The need for the government to call up Cossack men to serve either with the Army or a mounted police force caused many social and economic problems, which compounded by the growing impoverishment the communities of the Hosts.

Treated as a separate and elite community by the Tsar, the Cossacks rewarded his government with strong loyalty. His administration frequently used Cossack units to suppress domestic disorder, especially during the Russian Revolution of The Imperial Government depended heavily on the perceived reliability of the Cossacks.

By the early 20th century, their decentralized communities and semi-feudal military service were coming to be seen as obsolete.

The Russian Army Command, which had worked to professionalize its forces, considered the Cossacks less well disciplined, trained, and mounted than the hussars , dragoons, and lancers of the regular cavalry.

As a result, Cossack units were frequently broken up into small detachments for use as scouts, messengers, or picturesque escorts.

In , the Cossack hosts experienced deep mobilization of their menfolk amid the fighting of the Russo-Japanese War in Manchuria and the outbreak of revolution within the Russian Empire.

Like other peoples of the empire, some Cossack stanitsas voiced grievances against the regime by defying mobilization orders, or by making relatively liberal political demands.

But these infractions were eclipsed by the prominent role of Cossack detachments in stampeding demonstrators and restoring order in the countryside.

Subsequently, the wider population viewed the Cossacks as instruments of reaction. Tsar Nicholas II reinforced this concept by issuing new charters, medals, and bonuses to Cossack units in recognition for their performance during the Revolution of In September , reflecting the success of the Cossacks in putting down the Revolution of , Polkovnik Captain Vladimir Liakhov was sent to Iran to command the train and lead the Persian Cossack Brigade.

Initially, each Russian cavalry division included a regiment of Cossacks in addition to regular units of hussars, lancers, and dragoons.

By , the Cossacks' wartime strength had expanded to regiments, plus independent sotnias squadrons employed as detached units. The importance of cavalry in the frontlines faded after the opening phase of the war settled into a stalemate.

During the remainder of the war, Cossack units were dismounted to fight in trenches, held in reserve to exploit a rare breakthrough, or assigned various duties in the rear.

Those duties included rounding up deserters, providing escorts to war prisoners, and razing villages and farms in accordance with Russia's scorched earth policy.

In the aftermath of the February Revolution, the Cossacks hosts were authorized by the War Ministry of the Russian Provisional Government to overhaul their administrations.

Cossack assemblies known as krugs or, in the case of the Kuban Cossacks, a rada were organized at regional level to elect atamans and pass resolutions.

At national level, an all-Cossack congress was convened in Petrograd. This congress formed the Union of Cossack Hosts, ostensibly to represent the interests of Cossacks across Russia.

During the course of , the nascent Cossack governments formed by the krugs and atamans increasingly challenged the Provisional Government's authority in the borderlands.

The various Cossack governments themselves faced rivals, in the form of national councils organized by neighboring minorities, and of soviets and zemstvos formed by non-Cossack Russians, especially the so-called "outlanders" who had immigrated to Cossack lands.

In some areas, soviets formed by outlanders and soldiers rivaled the Cossack government, and ethnic minorities also tried to acquire a measure of self-rule.

Even the Cossack communities themselves were divided, as the atamans tended to represent the interests of prosperous landowners and the officer corps.

The unwillingness of rank-and-file Cossacks to vigorously defend the Cossack government enabled the Red Army to occupy the vast majority of Cossack lands by late spring of These Cossack rebels elected new atamans and made common cause with other anticommunist forces, such as the Volunteer Army in South Russia.

Subsequently, the Cossack homelands became bases for the White movement during the Russian Civil War. Throughout the civil war, Cossacks sometimes fought as an independent ally, and other times as an auxiliary, of White armies.

Through the Cossacks, the White armies acquired experienced, skilled horsemen that the Red Army was unable to match until late in the conflict.

Cossack units were often ill-disciplined, and prone to bouts of looting and violence that caused the peasantry to resent the Whites. As the Red Army gained the initiative in the civil war during late and early , Cossack soldiers, their families, and sometimes entire stanitsas retreated with the Whites.

Some continued to fight with the Whites in the conflict's waning stages in Crimea and the Russian Far East. Many poorer Cossack communities also remained susceptible to communist propaganda.

In late and early , widespread desertion and defection among Don, Ural, and Orenburg Cossacks fighting with the Whites produced a military crisis that was exploited by the Red Army in those sectors.

On 22 December , the Council of People's Commissars effectively abolished the Cossack estate by ending their military service requirements and privileges.

This was pursued through resettlement, widespread executions of Cossack veterans from the White armies, and favoring the outlanders within the Cossack hosts.

Ultimately, the de-Cossackization campaign led to a renewed rebellion among Cossacks in Soviet-occupied districts, and produced a new round of setbacks for the Red Army in When the victorious Red Army again occupied Cossack districts in late and , the Soviet regime did not officially reauthorize the implementation of de-Cossackization.

There is, however, disagreement among historians as to the degree of Cossack persecution by the Soviet regime. For example, the Cossack hosts were broken up among new provinces or autonomous republics.

Some Cossacks, especially in areas of the former Terek host, were resettled so their lands could be turned over to natives displaced from them during the initial Russian and Cossack colonization of the area.

At the local level, the stereotype that Cossacks were inherent counterrevolutionaries likely persisted among some Communist officials, causing them to target, or discriminate against, Cossacks despite orders from Moscow to focus on class enemies among Cossacks rather than the Cossack people in general.

Rebellions in the former Cossack territories erupted occasionally during the interwar period. In —, disgruntlement with continued Soviet grain-requisitioning activities provoked a series of revolts among Cossack and outlander communities in South Russia.

The former Cossack territories of South Russia and the Urals also experienced a devastating famine in — While urban areas were less affected, the decline was even higher in the rural areas, populated largely by ethnic Cossacks.

Robert Conquest estimates the number of famine-related deaths in the Northern Caucasus at about one million. In April , the Soviet regime began to relax its restrictions on Cossacks, allowing them to serve openly in the Red Army.

Two existing cavalry divisions were renamed as Cossack divisions, and three new Cossack cavalry divisions were established. Under the new Soviet designation, anyone from the former Cossack territories of the North Caucasus, provided they were not Circassians or other ethnic minorities, could claim Cossack status.

The Cossack emigration consisted largely of relatively young men who had served, and retreated with, the White armies. Many quickly became disillusioned with life abroad.

Throughout the s, thousands of exiled Cossacks voluntarily returned to Russia through repatriation efforts sponsored by France, the League of Nations , and even the Soviet Union.

Some managed to create farming communities in Yugoslavia and Manchuria, but most eventually took up employment as laborers in construction, agriculture, or industry.

A few showcased their lost culture to foreigners by performing stunts in circuses or serenading audiences in choirs. Cossacks who were determined to carry on the fight against communism frequently found employment with foreign powers hostile to Soviet Russia.

Hitler had no intention of entertaining the political aspirations of the Cossacks, or any minority group, in the USSR.

As a result, collaboration between Cossacks and the Wehrmacht began in ad hoc manner through localized agreements between German field commanders and Cossack defectors from the Red Army.

During their brief occupation of the North Caucasus region, the Germans actively recruited Cossacks into detachments and local self-defense militias.

The Germans even experimented with a self-governing district of Cossack communities in the Kuban region. When the Wehrmacht withdrew from the North Caucasus region in early , tens of thousands of Cossacks retreated with them, either out of conviction or to avoid Soviet reprisals.

The division was deployed to occupied Croatia to fight Tito's Partisans. There, its performance was generally effective, although at times brutal.

Although it had many attributes of a government-in-exile, the Cossack Central Administration lacked any control over foreign policy or the deployment of Cossack troops in the Wehrmacht.

Many Cossack accounts collected in the two volume work The Great Betrayal by Vyacheslav Naumenko allege that British officers had given them, or their leaders, a guarantee that they would not be forcibly repatriated to the Soviet Union, [] but there is no hard evidence that such a promise was made.

This episode is known as the Betrayal of the Cossacks , and resulted in sentences of hard labor or execution for the majority of the repatriated Cossacks.

Following the war, Cossack units, and the cavalry in general, were rendered obsolete and released from the Soviet Army.

In the post-war years, many Cossack descendants were thought of as simple peasants, and those who lived in one of the autonomous republics usually gave way to the local minority and migrated elsewhere, particularly to the Baltic region.

The principle Cossack emigre leader after was Nikolai Nazarenko , the self-proclaimed president of the World Federation of the Cossack National Liberation Movement of Cossackia, who enjoyed a prominence in New York as the organizer of the annual Captive Nations parade held ever July.

In , Nazarenko dressed in his Don Cossack uniform led the Captive Days day parade in New York city, and told a journalist: "Cossackia is a nation of 10 million people.

In the Russians officially abolished Cossackia as a nation. Officially, it no longer exists America should not spend billions supporting the Soviets with trade.

We don't have to be afraid of the Russian army because half of it is made up of Captive Nations. They can never trust the rank and file".

During the Perestroika era of the Soviet Union of the late s, many descendants of the Cossacks became enthusiastic about reviving their national traditions.

In , the Soviet Union passed a law allowing the reestablishment of former hosts and creation of new ones.

The ataman of the largest, the Almighty Don Host, was granted Marshal rank and the right to form a new host. Simultaneously, many attempts were made to increase Cossack impact on Russian society, and throughout the s many regional authorities agreed to hand over some local administration and policing duties to the Cossacks.

According to the Russian Census , , people currently self-identify as ethnic Cossacks. Cossacks have taken an active part in many of the conflicts that have taken place since the disintegration of the Soviet Union.

In early times, an ataman later called hetman commanded a Cossack band. He was elected by the Host members at a Cossack rada , as were the other important officials: the judge, the scribe, the lesser officials, and the clergy.

The ataman's symbol of power was a ceremonial mace, a bulava. Today, Russian Cossacks are led by atamans, and Ukrainian Cossacks by hetmans.

The ataman had executive powers , and in wartime was the supreme commander in the field. Legislative power was given to the Band Assembly Rada.

The senior officers were called starshyna. In the absence of written laws , the Cossacks were governed by the "Cossack Traditions" — the common, unwritten law.

Cossack society and government were heavily militarized. The people and territories were subdivided into regimental and company districts, and village posts polky , sotni , and stanytsi.

A unit of a Cossack troop could be called a kuren. Each Cossack settlement, alone or in conjunction with neighboring settlements, formed military units and regiments of light cavalry or, in the case of Siberian Cossacks, mounted infantry.

They could respond to a threat on very short notice. A high regard for education was a tradition among the Cossacks of Ukraine. All over the land of Rus', i.

Besides that, their priests take care and educate the orphans, not allowing them to wander in the streets ignorant and unattended.

Russian Cossacks founded numerous settlements stanitsas and fortresses along troublesome borders. A group of Albazin Cossacks settled in China as early as Cossacks interacted with nearby peoples, and exchanged cultural influences the Terek Cossacks, for example, were heavily influenced by the culture of North Caucasian tribes.

They also frequently intermarried with local non-Cossack settlers and local inhabitants, regardless of race or origin, sometimes setting aside religious restrictions.

General Bogaevsky, a commander in the Russian Volunteer Army , mentions in his memoir that one of his Cossacks, Sotnik Khoperski, was a native Chinese who had been brought back as a child from Manchuria during the Russian-Japanese War of —, and adopted and raised by a Cossack family.

Cossack family values as expressed in 21st century Russia are simple, rigid, and very traditional compared to those of contemporary Western culture.

In theory, men build the home and provide an income, and women take care of the family and provide for the children and household. Traditional Russian values, culture and Orthodox Christianity form the bedrock of their beliefs.

Cossacks, particularly those in rural areas, tend to have more children than most other people in Russia. Rural Cossacks often observe traditional kinship systems , living in large clans of extended family.

These are led by an elder patriarch, usually a grandfather, who often has the title of Ataman. Historically, when Cossack men fought in permanent wars far from home, the women took over the role of family leaders.

Women were also called upon to physically defend their villages and towns from enemy attacks. In some cases, they raided and disarmed neighboring villages composed of other ethnic groups.

Leo Tolstoy described such Cossack female chauvinism in his novel, The Cossacks. Relations between the sexes within the stanitsas were relatively egalitarian.

The American historian Thomas Barrett wrote "The history of Cossack women complicates general notions of patriarchy within Russian society".

When the Malorossian Cossack regiments were disbanded, those Cossacks who were not promoted to nobility, or did not join other estates, were united into a civil Cossack estate.

Sergei Korolev 's mother was the daughter of a leader of the civil estate of the Zaporozhian Sich.

Cossacks have long appealed to romantics as idealising freedom and resistance to external authority, and their military exploits against their enemies have contributed to this favorable image.

For others, Cossacks are a symbol of repression, for their role in suppressing popular uprisings in the Russian Empire, during the Khmelnytsky Uprising of —, and in pogroms , including those perpetrated by the Terek Cossacks during the Russian revolution and by various Cossack atamans in Ukraine in , among them atamans Zeleny , Grigoriev , and Semosenko.

One of Leo Tolstoy 's first novellas, The Cossacks , depicts their autonomy and estrangement from Moscow and from centralized rule. Many of Isaac Babel 's stories for instance, those in Red Cavalry depict Cossack soldiers, and were based on Babel's experiences as a war correspondent attached to the 1st Cavalry Army.

Polish Romantic literature also commonly dealt with Cossack themes. In many [ quantify ] stories by adventure writer Harold Lamb , the main character is a Cossack.

Despite their image acquired during the Imperial period as the ferocious defenders of the anti-Semitic Russian state, Soviet Jewish writers often portrayed the Cossacks very favorably.

In one of the novels by Jewish writer Shmuel Gordon, a group of Jews survive the Holocaust by being hidden in a Kuban Cossack stanista.

To symbolize the unity achieved, the play ends with mixed marriages with one Jewish character marrying a Korean, another Jewish character marrying an Amur Cossack and another Amur Cossack marrying a Korean.

In the traditional world of the shetls , there was a division between the Jews who whose lifestyle was comme il facut correct and the goyish incorrect , and for many Jews the Cossacks were the ultimate in goyish.

He would give his soul for the chance to gallop with a horse on a Cossack saddle, or a cavalry saddle or bareback".

Historiography interprets Cossackdom in imperial and colonial terms. Traditional Ukrainian culture is often tied in with the Cossacks, and the Ukrainian government actively supports [ when?

The video game Cossacks: European Wars is a Ukrainian-made game series influenced by Cossack culture. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in , many [ quantify ] have begun seeing Russian Cossacks as defenders of Russian sovereignty.

The Russian military has also taken advantage of patriotic feelings among the Cossacks as the hosts have become larger and more organised, and has in the past [ when?

Cossacks also play a large cultural role in the South of Russia. Rural ethnic Russian inhabitants of the Rostov-on-Don , Krasnodar , and Stavropol territories, and of the autonomous republics of the Northern Caucasus , regard themselves as consisting almost exclusively of at least spiritual descendants of the Cossacks.

As such, the region has had a reputation, even in Soviet times, for its high discipline, low crime , and conservative views. These areas have high rates of religious attendance, and of literacy.

Cossacks are also mentioned outside Europe. Solodar was present when Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel signed the act of surrender to allied forces.

That same day, he left for Moscow and by the evening of 9 May, the song was written. The S. Tvorun arrangement of the Zaporizhian March known as the Cossack march is one of the main marches of the Armed Forces of Ukraine , replacing Farewell of Slavianka in as the official sendoff music for army recruits.

The Kuban Cossack Choir is a leading folkloric ensemble that reflects the dances and folklore of the Kuban Cossack. In late April of every year, a parade of the Kuban Cossack army is held in Krasnodar , dedicated to the anniversary of the adoption of the law on the rehabilitation of the Cossacks.

There is usually a traditional prayer service, before the Cossack pass along Krasnaya Street to the City Square, to which the parade begins at am. The parade is opened by a platoon of drummers of the Novorossiysk Cossack Cadet Corps and among the participants in the parade are equestrian groups, honor guards and youth cadet corps.

The Russian Empire organised its Cossacks into several voiskos hosts , which lived along the Russian border and internal borders between Russian and non-Russian peoples.

Each host originally had its own leadership, ranks, regalia, and uniforms. By the late 19th century, ranks were standardized following the example of the Imperial Russian Army.

The ranks and insignia were kept after the law allowing the hosts to reform, and the law legally recognizing the hosts as a combat service.

They are given below as per all military tickets that are standard for the Russian Army. Large hosts are divided into divisions, and consequently the Russian Army sub-ranks General-mayor , General-leytenant and General-polkovnik are used to distinguish the atamans' hierarchy of command, the supreme ataman having the highest rank available.

In this case, the shoulder insignia has a dedicated one-, two- and three-star alignment, as is normal in the Russian Army.

Cossack girls

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