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  • 31


     
    Russia's Cossacks rise again
    News; Posted on: 2007-08-13 11:53:06 [ Printer friendly / Instant flyer ]
    In the first of a series from southern Russia, the BBC's Steven Eke reports on the Cossacks, who have emerged as an influential political group in the region, strongly supportive of Vladimir Putin and his idea of Russia's "greatness".

    The Cossacks play an increasingly important role in Russia. Their disciplined way of life, patriotism, large families and commitment to work, are seen by many politicians as a model that could help resolve many of Russia's problems. For this, they receive support from the very top.

    The village of Varennikovskoye is home to some 300 Cossacks and their families.

    The local leader, "Ataman" Viktor Vasilyevich, received me with open arms. He was dressed in traditional Cossack costume, which includes a full-length black coat, a sheepskin hat and a sword. He oozed authority, and it was immediately clear that he was held in deep respect by his family and the other villagers.

    Cossack family life is a rigid, hierarchical system in which the eldest man's word is law. Unashamedly, the Ataman explained that Cossack families should be as large as possible. He introduced me to one of his own sons, already the father of seven children.

    Orthodox beliefs

    One of his grandsons was boxing in the village gym - a converted bar. He said being a good Cossack was someone who "took responsibility" for his family and their well-being. Just 11 years old, he was already used to hard physical work on the farm.

    Cossack family values are simple, rigid, and to a Western eye, seem to come from another era. The men build the home and provide an income; the women cook, clean and give birth to children. Traditional Russian values, culture, and Orthodoxy form the bedrock of their beliefs.

    Full Article
    News Source: BBC

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