Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 20

The council on Cossack affairs which reports to the office of the Russian president met January 26 in Moscow under the chairmanship of Yeltsin’s new chief of staff, Nikolai Yegorov. (15) At the meeting, Russian Cossacks voiced concern about continuing lack of clarity regarding their legal status. They called for federal legislation to enable Cossacks to undertake state service, from which they are presently barred due to the fact that Cossack groups are generally classified as "public organizations." Yegorov called for special training courses to be introduced in Russian military training colleges for Cossack atamans, or leaders.

A nationwide Cossack newspaper is to start publication next month, while the long-awaited process of registering Cossack communities is to begin in April. Petr Marchenko, governor of Stavropol krai, which borders Chechnya, told the meeting that special Cossack units should be created to tackle terrorism. "Such units are essential in light of the events in Budennovsk and Kizlyar," Marchenko said. Noting that the police in his region were unable to cope with rising crime caused by the influx of refugees from the Northern Caucasus, the Stavropol governor said Cossack units could also maintain public order and tackle hooliganism. Cossack units have reportedly been created as far east as the Kamchatka peninsula in order to "counteract possible terrorist acts by ethnic Chechens living and involved in business in Russia’s Far East." (16)

Gorbachev Likely to Run for President.