Cossack security firms to guard Russian state property

RIA Novosti / Ramil Sitdikov
Russia will use Cossack security troops to guard military industrial objects both on its territory and abroad, says the head of the Presidential Council for Cossack issues.

The registration of the special Cossack security firms has already started, Aleksandr Beglov told reporters. Special Cossack troops can be used for providing security only to government and state-owned enterprises at federal and municipal levels, but not to private companies, added the official, who also holds the post of presidential plenipotentiary to the Central Federal District.

The Defense Ministryhas already agreed to sign contracts with Cossack companies so that they guarded some of the facilities that are now guarded by “paramilitary security structures,” Aleksandr Beglov noted.

Russia’s defense industry chief, Dmitry Rogozin, has reportedly supported the idea and said that Cossacks should provide security at various foreign-based facilities as foreign companies charge too much for such work.

Beglov added that Cossacks were planning to found and register their own Cossack Party. The founding convention is scheduled for November 24 and the leader of the new party will be elected at the same time, he said.

The official also told reporters that there were plans to set up several new associations of public organizations that would deal with problems of ethnic Russians residing abroad.

Acording to Beglov, President Putin has recently signed the strategy of the development of the Cossack movement until 2020. The document defined the ways of cooperation between Cossack organizations and state authorities of all levels. The financing of the Cossack movement will be regulated by separate programs, Beglov added.

Cossacks were a separate social group in Tsarist Russia, providing servicemen to the army and guarding the country’s borders in exchange to personal freedoms and preferences. Cossacks were monarchists and extreme nationalists, many of them were subject to repressions after the Bolshevik revolution.

Since the breakup of the Soviet Union, the Cossack movement has slowly been reviving, but it is still split and lacks state support as the government only recently started paying attention to it.

The situation is slightly different in the south of the country, especially in the Krasnodar Region – one of the territories in which Cossacks have traditionally lived. The regional governor has cooperated with Cossack troops for a long time and recently ordered that Cossacks patrolled public territory and provided security at public events.

The move drew criticism from human rights activists over fears of Cossack xenophobia, but so far no real conflicts have arisen.