Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 8

Volunteers are enlisting in local self-defense battalions in Cossack settlements in the northern Caucasus, Cossack leader Alexander Martynov told a Moscow press conference January 10. (8) Martynov said many of the volunteers were veterans of Moscow’s war in Afghanistan. Cossacks have been calling for the creation of auxiliary units to support army, interior, and border troops since the military operation in Chechnya began a year ago, said Martynov, but the authorities have ignored their offers. In light of the Kizlyar crisis, the Cossacks have now decided to go it alone. In fact, there have been frequent reports over the past year, especially since the June 1995 seizure of hostages in Budennovsk, that Cossack detachments have been patrolling roads in the north Caucasus and enforcing "fines" on non-Slav travelers. Cossack reprisals against Chechen refugees and other displaced persons of non-Slav origin, such as the Meskhetian Turks, have also been reported. Martynov said the Cossacks were not equipped with combat weapons, but possessed have shotguns and hunting rifles. (9)

Communists Could Benefit from Nationalist Faction in Duma.