A Cossack column. Photo by the press service of the state-funded institution "Don Cossacks", Rostov region

20 April 2021, 22:54

Scientists point to historical prerequisites for treating Cossacks as a people

The directory of the "Rosstat" (Russian Federal State Statistics Service), prepared for the All-Russian Population Census, lists over ten nationalities containing the word "Cossack". The demands of the Cossacks living in Southern Russia to recognize them as a people are historically justified; however, they sound amid the erosion of Cossacks' national identity, scientists have pointed out.

The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that during the 2010 All-Russian Census, over 67,000 people identified themselves as Cossacks (Russian Cossacks). On January 26, 2013, about 700 Cossacks held a rally in Rostov, demanding to recognize them as a people.

For the next census upcoming in the fall of 2021, a list was approved containing 13 nationalities with the word "Cossack", the website of the government of the Rostov Region has reported with reference to Marina Samoilova, the head of the Rostov branch of the "Rosstat".

The Cossacks emerged in the 16th century as an association of people who opposed Ivan the Terrible and fled from Central Russia, said the historian, Andrei Venkov. Before the 1917 revolution, an idea dominated about Cossacks as an ethnographic subgroup of Russians.

According to Alexei Gunya, Doctor of Geography, the decrease in the number of people registering as Cossacks has to do with two processes. Firstly, in the 1990s, they "went too far" with Cossack nationalism; and in the 2000s there was a rollback - "a significant number of people got tired of this 'masquerade', and they preferred to go to Russians." Secondly, the departure of many Cossacks from Northern Caucasus played some role.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on April 20, 2021 at 09:57 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

Author: Semyon Charny; Source: CK correspondent

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