SECESSIONIST COSSACK GROUP IN KAZAKHSTAN RE-ELECTS MILITANT LEADER.
Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 26
Nikolai Gunkin has been re-elected Ataman of the Semirechye Cossack host in Kazakhstan, the group announced yesterday. Gunkin completed January 27 a three-month term of imprisonment for staging unauthorized Cossack rallies and marches in Almaty. The Semirechye Cossack krug (council) has also decided to reapply for legal registration as a public organization. Kazakhstan’s authorities canceled that status last year, citing the group’s unlawful tactics and its insistence on the right to carry arms. (13) Semirechye Cossacks promote the secession from Kazakhstan of the country’s Russian-inhabited northern region. Gunkin’s detention had sparked an outcry from Russian nationalist groups, the Duma, and the Russian government. The Russian government virtually made the Gunkin case into a test of the treatment of Kazakhstan’s Russian population, forcing President Nursultan Nazarbayev to respond sharply. Despite the furor, however, Russian-populated northern Kazakhstan voted heavily for Nazarbayev candidates in the recent parliamentary elections.