On November 25, a “Big Circle” (Bol’shoi Krug) meeting of “over 200 delegates from 83 regions of Russia and 43 countries of the world” took place in Moscow to discuss Cossack issues and confirm the election of Chief Ataman Nikolai Dyakanov as leader of the Union of Cossack Warriors of Russia and Abroad (SKVRiZ). SKVRiZ represents some 30,000 “unregistered” or “public” Cossacks and maintains connections with organizations in Russia and many other countries. Largely on Dyakanov’s own initiative, the public Cossack organization “became an army,” sending volunteer battalions to fight in Russia’s so-called “special military operation.” Some Cossack attendees came to the meeting directly from the Ukrainian front, still dressed in combat fatigues (Rossisskaya gazeta, November 12). Such a spectacle seemingly confirms that the enhanced ideological significance of the war for those who identify as Cossacks contributes to the proliferation of paramilitary groups within Russia and implies a greater role for the Cossacks, both registered and unregistered, in future combat operations (see EDM January 30, February 14).
Full article from The Jamestown Foundation Eurasia Daily Monitor