Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 235

Some 1,500 Cossacks over the weekend blocked transport to and from the spa-town of Mineralnye vody in Russia’s Stavropol krai, which borders on Chechnya. The Cossacks, who are demanding the right to set up armed self-defense units, sealed off the airport, blocked railway lines, and closed the main road between Rostov and Baku. They were also protesting the killing of one of their own in Chechnya’s Naursky raion and calling for the release from police custody of another Cossack, arrested in September on suspicion of smuggling weapons. (Interfax, ORT, December 15)

Stavropol’s large Cossack community is angry about Chechnya’s virtual independence. They are demanding that two raions, traditionally settled by Cossacks and now part of Chechnya, be transferred to Stavropol. Naursky and Shelkovsky raions belonged to Checheno-Ingushetia until World War Two. They were transferred to Stavropol krai when Stalin deported the Chechens and the Ingush and liquidated Checheno-Ingushetia in 1944. In 1957, they were returned to Chechen-Ingushetia. Now the Cossacks want them included in Russia proper. Some Cossack leaders would like to see the creation of a distinct Cossack region within Russia that would include not only Naursky and Shelkovsky raions, but also Dagestan’s Kizlyarsky raion, North Ossetia’s Mozdok raion and traditional Cossack settlements in Kabardino-Balkaria.

Rybkin Meets Cossack Representatives.