President Boris Yeltsin said that he thinks the time has come to begin to restore the Cossack community (a Tsarist-era military class whose registered members enjoyed legal and social privileges to reward their military service). In his letter to the all-Russian conference of Cossacks, Yeltsin said that "the Russian people expect that the Cossacks will carry on their sacred duty of defending the Russian state, as they have been doing for centuries." Yeltsin’s newly-appointed aide for nationality and regional affairs, Nikolai Yegorov, who attended the congress, said that today, Russia’s Cossack communities number about 5 million people, and added that he believed that Cossack conscription into the army would drastically improve the military draft situation. (11)
Zhirinovsky’s Men in Transdniester.