Not only did Bolsheviks abolish the Cossack estate, which was natural as the old, antiquated estate system had to be put to rest. They literally abolished -- killed that is -- a large number of Cossacks (with help from the poorer Red Cossacks); many others were resettled. This policy was known as 'De-Cossackization' (raskazachivanie); it peaked during the Civil War and the Collectivization.In any case, I still think Putin's New Cossacks might present a p.r. problem for a country that is supposed to be moving forward into the modern, democratic, era. Sounds like a throwback to the days of the Tsar...
'Cossacks' once described communities of those who had moved out or escaped from Muscovy and Poland-Lithuania to live a life of robbing and farming in the huge steppe area in-between the sedentary agricultural Ruthenia and its various neighbors, including the unpleasant steppe nomads. Russians slowly but surely colonized the steppe and closed in on their troublesome neighbors in the South and the South-East, leaving less space for the Cossacks' highwaymanship. The Russian Cossacks then stroke a bargain with Moscow, promising to perform military service, as frontier guards in particular, in return for a degree of self-government. Turns out I have written about them before. But keeping in mind the Civil War of 1918--1922 and the Collectivization, I doubt if many of the inhabitants of Russia's traditionally Cossack areas are descended from pre-1917 Cossacks. Are we going to see a new Cossack estate emerge when Russian rebels and misfits stream down south and all the way to the Far East, Russian borders in need of protection more than ever since 1700?
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
...correcting an earlier post here, from The Russian Dilettante's Weblog: