Movie fans hardly missed the films directed by the famous French man Luc Besson about District 13 in France. The dynamic film plots highlight the problems of the criminal vicinities of the cities. In the films, the puppet armies of criminal district authorities are especially outstanding.
Unfortunately, we can really see the similar situation in Crimea where the Russian Cossack movement is exploited. At the same time, the aggressor tries to contrast its own opinion on the Cossack movement on the terrain of the modern Russia with the history of the Ukrainian Cossacks’ great power statehood and freebooters as a life sense of the groups of just the Russian population who are exclusive and the most loyal to the imperial state.
Earlier, we have mentioned that the dam construction, which was provocatively started by the Russian Federation, to Tusla Island supported by the criminal group under a pretext of a necessity of laying out the pipelines including Kuban conduit, which hid the plans of its use for transporting to Ukraine cheep and illegal Ossetian alcohol costing 2 hryvnias per 1 litre. Let’s not repeat that in details as far as the Ukrainian publication Weekly Mirror already wrote about Leonid Hrach and the project as a whole. At a time the publication disclosed the role of Kuban Cossacks and the fact proving that 80 % of finances for the project were openly provided by the Russian Federation. The readers remember that the Russian Cossacks were exploited by another character of our story while constructing the aqua facilities in Crimea and for fomenting the confrontation between them and the Crimean Tatars driven together from the lands of Symeiz.
At present, more important thing for us is the way the aggressor acted. It is worth mentioning that the RF government, unlike that of Ukraine, took the system measures in order to support the movement of the Cossacks both because of the historical and ideological attitudes serving for Russia’s benefit and at the legislative and organizational levels, practically creating a militarized structure with an effective government and support. The similar measures were applied to the Russian private guarding structures demonstrating the apparent signs of the special operations.
For example, among Kuban Cossacks there are mainly those who do not have Cossack origins at all, i.e. the retired servicemen from all the former Soviet Union, police officers who did not pass the re-attestation, and the people for whom the Cossacks’ service is a sort of an official registration of their personal loyal attitude to the concept of the Russian imperial chauvinism as well as a method of earning a living. Nevertheless, the member of the so-called Cossack armed forces receives from the regional budget a salary being similar to that of a policeman.
The RF government runs the Cossack movement with the help of certain staff regional governor deputies, so a bifurcating organizational structure was built. The entire propaganda mechanism is actively used. The mechanism impacts the children’s Cossack clubs and military schools, Yunarmia detachments, enables the Cossack armed forces, detachments, specialized army units without a stop. The same goes for other forms of the alleged self-organization, the Cossack newspapares are published, there are special sites, a great many of different activities are held, a personal award system was introduced, etc.
Even those who initiated the ‘revival of the Cossacks’ during the perestroika affirm that the concept of the revival of the Cossacks as the ethnic cultural community is practically castrated. At present, the identity of the Cossacks is determined only according to the service status, i.e. ‘the one who is a serviceman is also a Cossack’. The historical ties of the Russian Cossacks with Non-Moscow past are also ruined. Instead, the Anti-Ukrainian sentiment is actively propagandized.
The membership and the involvement in the Cossack movement allow receiving a state level of the support at a time. It looks as if they were going to avoid entirely identifying them as the government institutions. Those organizations are almost openly provided with the assistance of the military and security services. The businessmen who exploit the services are also linked with the government structures. Supporting Kuban Cossacks, the N.M. Ialanouzian previously mentioned by us took the measures for the legalization of the Cossacks in the legal business of Ukraine and the RF. After becoming one f the Cossack capitalists, he used the support of the representatives of the authorities and received considerable sums of money thanks to his criminal activity.
The mediators guaranteeing the Ukrainian authorities’ noninvolvement was Leonid Hrach and the former member of his family Mykola Leontiyovych Yanaki born 1969 and wanted by the SBU for his committing the crime stipulated in Art. 111 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine ‘State Treachery’. М. Yanaki was a Deputy Head at the occupational Council of Ministers of the Crimean Republic from 28th February 2014 to 22nd August 2016. By the time of the occupation in 2002-2006 and 2010-2014, he had had a status of the deputy of the Verkhovna Rada of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. In 2006-2010, he was a deputy of Simferopol Regional Council.
You must take into consideration that a considerable amount of Kuban Cossacks and other representatives of the Crimean Self-Defense are still on the occupied territory of Crimea and registered as the workers of the guarding companies. Such a decision was made by the authorities of the Russian Federation. Serhiy Aksionov, the chief of the occupational authority, himself declared that in the public eye.
Therefore, we have to take a closer look, first of all, at Kuban Cossack Troops headed by Volodymyr Prokopovych Hromov born in 1950, in 1990-2008. Since 2008 and up to now, Mykola Oleksandrovych Doluda born in 1952 has headed the troops. Mr. Doluda is a native of the village Myroliubivka, in Bohodukhivka Region, Kharkiv Oblast. He is also a regular colonel of the Military Forces of the USSR. He is a FAC by profession. As we can see, that person has not had anything to do with Kuban. Nevertheless, according to Decree No.265 issued by the Russian President as of 2009, otaman of Kuban Military Cossack Community M. Doluda was conferred with a rank of a Cossack General.
In addition, at arranged time, V. Hromov and M. Doluda worked as special Vice-Governors of Krasnodar Krai. In particular, working as a Vice-Governor of Krasnodar Krai, M. Doluda was responsible only for the regional sports and Cossacks. However, pursuant to his 2017-Declaration, he earned 2.9 mln. roubles and owns a number of real-estate facilities and vehicles.
In February 2014, M. Doluda organized the intervention and mobilized over 1 thousand people of volunteer contingent, transferring them from the territory of Krasnodar Krai to Crimea. He invaded Crimea for deploying and supporting the pro-Moscow separatist movement on the peninsula and other territories of Ukraine. Thanks to those Cossacks, the separatists have gained the control over the passages between Crimea and Kherson Oblast since the start of 2014.
In Sochi, there is the greatest amount of Cossacks subordinating to M. Doluda. A local Cossack organization Kuban Cossack Troops count not less than 5 Cossacks killed during the military actions in the east of Ukraine and Syria since 2014 . In the report of the human rights organization KrymSoS, it is M. Doluda who was directly named as one of those being responsible for the abduction of the Crimean Tatars on the peninsula in 2016 and 2017.
In general, a theatre of military operations was allotted by the Russian authority for each of the Russian Cossack Union beforehand. In particular, Kuban Cossacks acted mainly on the territory of Crimea while Don Cossacks acted on the territory of the Eastern regions. The Cossacks from Prydnistrovya Region in Moldova were activated on the south of Ukraine.
The Cossacks attracted the attention of the Western media as the military missions were done and World Football Cup was held in Russia in 2018 as far as it was them who were linked with the Ukrainian and Syrian military companies of the Kremlin. In particular, Reuters reported over 800 representatives and minimum 6 local Cossack detachments were activated during the Cup, minimum 19 people were either involved in the military actions on the east of Ukraine or in the fight on the side of Bashar Asad controlled by the RF and Iran and working as private military professional soldiers. Reuters identified them. After those people were taken captives or killed, Reuters Agency contacted the relatives, friends and other Cossacks and confirmed they belonged to the paramilitary formations, i.e. the Cossack detachments officially registered in the RF.
The Cossacks say the members of the detachments who are involved in the military conflicts allegedly act as private persons. However, there is evidence that the groups of Cossacks support the operations of that kind. First of all, they often organize the funerals for those who succumbed in the battles in Syria and Ukraine. They do that with all the honors and publish the remembering speeches in their own media.
The events related with Don Cossacks have their own peculiarities as far as, in fact, there are two Cossack unions. They are the Union of the Cossacks from the Region of Don Troops (SK OVD) and the military Cossack society Great Don Army (VKO VVD). During the military actions, in the beginning of 2015, otaman of Bataisk Cossack Society VKO VVD Sviatoslav Borysov published on his account page, in social network, the photos made in the east of Ukraine, including the two shots in which he is standing beside the burnt tank. According to the account Mr. Borisov told the Reuters correspondent he provided the pro-Russian separatists with a humanitarian aid and was not involved in the military actions. Roman Zabolotnyi, Rostov Cossack and VKO VVD member was taken by the ISIS combatants in Syria, a year ago. There he took part in the military actions as a private professional soldier, as his acquaintances told the reporter.
Besides, an overall scope of financing the Cossack activities in Rostov, Volhohrad, and Astrakhan Oblasts, only in 2017, comprised over 880 mln. roubles. The Cossacks were directly involved in the service as part of the company of the territorial defense of the mobilization reserve, which is deployed on the territory of the 11th Guards’ Engineering Brigade in Kamensk-Shakhtynsk.
Though, Cossacks’ having a paramilitary status turned to be not enough for the Russian authorities. At first, the General Staff of the Military Forces of the Russian Federation enlarged the list of army units for the Cossacks’ formation. Later, actively forming the individual military Cossack subdivisions, units, and large units started. In 2018, at the 752nd Petrov Motor Rifle Cossack Regiment-on- Volga belonging to the Western Military District that is common to all arms, as soon as the Agreement between Vislin Motor Rifle District Division and the otamans of the regions of the Central Black Earth Region of the RF signed, the first regular Cossack company was formed.
The first who passed the pre-conscription training in the Cossack communities and were sent for the service in the individual Cossack company were about 80 recruits from Voronezh, Belgorod, and Kursk Oblasts. Apart from training, which is common to all arms, the servicemen of the Cossack Company can undergo an intensified ideological influence. They review the ‘right’ history of the military formations of the Cossacks, their involvement in the military conflicts. Besides, the practical courses in haute ecole and dealing with the traditional Cossack weapon are provided for the servicemen.
That large unit was named Cossack Regiment-on-Volga in 1994 only because of its deployment in Samara. It was the name the regiment fought with against the Chechen people. At a time, in 2016, that large unit was re-deployed for a permanent stay in the town Valuiky near the Ukrainian border. In the mid August 2020, it was informed that almost 100 recruits from the individual Cossack company of the Guards’ Combined Arms Army Decorated with the Order of the Red Banner deployed in the Western Military District already swore fealty to Russia.
The Cossack large units are actively trained by the aggressor for the military actions on the occupied territories and in Crimea, as well. For example, in 16th-21st March 2020, on the firing ground Kamyshynskyi located in Danylivka, Volgograd Oblast, the Russian Federation, a team and staff training both with tactical airmobile insert and battle firing took place. Kamyshynsk Individual Guards’ Landing-Assault Cossack Large Unit from Don also participated. The same days, the training was held on the firing ground Opuk, in the eastern part of Crimea. Training, the paratroopers marched to the region of the concentration as soon as they received a signal of training alert. They also started doing their missions according to the plan of training.
Then, the personnel of the landing helicopter assault company with reinforcing units, on the planes Mi-8, did the flight from the waiting region he place where a combat training mission was done with the help of the army aviation. There the personnel annihilated the maneuver enemy by means of the landing helicopter assault actions. The personnel also occupied the comfortable line and held their ground until the link-up forces arrived. They immediately made for the mentioned region and completed the utter defeat of the maneuver enemy thanks to the fire support operations that helped the tanks and artillery. Training, personnel worked out the actions of the commanders for giving the commands to the large unit subdivisions while doing the different combat training missions.
As soon as the servicemen finished their training, they came back into the fort where they reckoned up, serviced their equipment, and left it for storage. In total, over 600 servicemen and 50 units of military and special equipment will be involved in the drills.
In the current year, on the firing ground Rayevskyi, in Krasnodar Krai, the subdivisions of the landing helicopter assault of Kuban Cossack Regiment of Novorossiisk ABF Large Unit actively trained. On the firing ground Tatarka in Stavropol Krai, tactical drill was held. It included a battlefield gunnery done by the personnel of the Caucasian Guards’ Landing Helicopter Assault Cossack Regiment of Novorossiisk Guards’ Landing Helicopter Assault Mountain Large Unit headed by lieutenant colonel Anatoliy Topilskyi. At the same time, the mentioned large units such as the 752nd Regiment actively use the name ‘Cossack’ that earlier was a formal name. They use the name for the integration as they cooperate with the Cossack large units consisting of the recruits being in an appropriate physical shape. They were also brainwashed by means of the ideological propaganda.
It is worth mentioning, the Russian Cossack movement was organized on a large scale and with imperial pompousness at that time. At the same time, the military training of the Cossacks was integrated into the military training of the military forces of the aggressor-state.
Besides, at the end of August in the current year, in the RF National Defense Management Centre, the next meeting headed by states Deputy Secretary of Defense of the RF Mykola Pankov was held by the plenary committee of the Russian President for the Cossack Issues under the Patronage of the RF Ministry of Defense and Military Cossack Societies. The activity reflected the instructions from the 2021-2030 Strategy of the RF Policy on the Russian Cossacks approved by the President of the Russian Federation, in August 2020.
The Deputy Secretary of Defense drew attention to the necessity of the ‘regularly carrying out the work’, ‘a close interaction for the solution of the arising problems’, and so on. The committee worked out the methods and ways of the involvement of the Russian Cossacks into the military service, military and patriotic, spiritual and moral education of the Cossack youth. They also discussed a role and place of the All-Russian Cossack Community created in November 2019 in the integration of the Russian Cossacks into the Military Forces of the Russian Federation.
Although, the topic of the ‘paramilitary’ Cossack movement remains urgent due to the plans of their possible involvement in the religious conflict in occupied Crimea and in Ukraine, as a whole. At present, in occupied Crimea, so-called Black-Sea Cossack Troops are officially registered and is acting.
Moreover, in the current year, the citizens of Crimea spoke very negatively of the activity of the Cossacks of Donskaya Stanitsa, in the social networks. The latter have been working at Operation Headquarters in Yalta since 27th March, monitoring whether the citizens and legal persons stick to the rules of the self-isolation regimen and carrying out the prophylactic and explanatory work with the locals. The last statement heard by the Crimean citizens from the official information offended them in a special way as far as the words are a quintessential example of the real purpose of the aggressor-state in Crimea.
We deliberately restrain ourselves from making the conclusions on the forms and ways of aggressor’s searching a new fresh meat, according to the plans of the invasion of Ukraine, as far as we consider that our reader can make the conclusions him/herself.