Cossack (refers to groups of social and military formations, initially of Slavic origin, which settled permanently in the steppes of what is now southern Russia and Ukraine, providing military services to the neighboring rulers of Rostov-on-Don, Kuban, the Caucasus and Ukraine, approximately in the 10th century. The Cossacks were known for their military prowess and self-confidence. The name derives from the Slavic language Kasak “nomad”, “free man”, the term is first mentioned in a Ruthenian document dating from 1395.

In socio-political terms, from the 15th century to the present day, the Cossack community is organized in an administrative structure that could be considered a primitive federal democracy, something novel but unacceptable in the whole of Eastern Europe and Asia in medieval times.

Cossack is the common name shared independently by several population groups and military units in the course of the history of Eastern Europe and adjacent territories. The main and most numerous group is the Russian Cossacks (казаки) of the Don, Kuban, Terek and Ural rivers and the Ukrainian Cossacks (козаки), respectively. Somewhat less well known are the Polish Cossacks (Kozacy) and the Tatar Cossacks (Nağaybäklär). The name “Cossack” should not be confused with Kazakhs (native to Kazakhstan, a country in Central Asia). In the native language of Kazakhstan, Kazakhs are called Kazakhs: Kazakh.

In Russia, the native Cossacks have for centuries and until now taken care to jealously preserve the very pronunciation and spelling of the name of their nationality and origin. According to the ancient Cossack tradition, the word “Kazak” should be written and read equally, both from left to right in Cyrillic Slavic transcription, and from right to left in transcription of Turkic languages. Russian Cossacks took an important part in the colonization of Siberia. In the middle of the 17th century, Russian Cossacks reached the coast of the Pacific Ocean. Ukrainian Cossacks formed the Zaporozhia Cossack State in 1649. They are considered the progenitors of the modern Ukrainian nation and Ukrainian nationalist discourse appeals, to a large extent, to the Cossacks.

In 1670, the Don Cossack Stenka Razin proclaimed the Cossack Republic in the city of Astrakhan, on the banks of the Volga River, near its mouth in the Caspian Sea. To the previous decree of abolition of slavery he added the principle of equality and the end of privileges in territories of this Cossack Republic. The Don Cossacks formed the Don Cossack State in Russia. During the period of the Russian Empire, the Don Cossacks were joined by numerous Russian serfs fleeing from their masters. In addition, the Don and Kuban Cossacks were two of the main resistance forces against the Bolsheviks during the Russian Civil War. At the same time and after the collapse of the Russian Empire (in May 1918), Don Cossacks led by their ataman, Pyotr Krasnov, again attempted to form an independent Cossack republic in union with the Kuban Cossacks. The republic included ten provinces, with the capital in the city of Novocherkassk, with the administrative-political scheme of an independent federal state.

The Cossack traditions, culture and the Cossack community itself were mostly exposed to extermination in the Soviet era, especially between 1922 and 1945, and are currently in a process of revival. The vast majority of the Cossack community is concentrated in the Volgograd and Rostov regions, 108,140 of the total. Another 21,444 Cossacks are residents of Krasnodar Krai and the Stavropol region. 3 223 Cossacks are spread between the Republic of Karachay-Cherkessia and the Republic of North Ossetia. The rest of the Cossack community is scattered throughout the Russian Federation from the Baltic Sea to the shores of the Pacific Ocean. Regardless of the above and according to various statistics, about 10 million people in Russia, Ukraine and abroad consider themselves to be Cossacks by origin or direct descendants of Cossacks.

The Cossacks were formerly nomadic or semi-nomadic; ethnically they are Slavs and currently reside mainly in the territories of Russia and Ukraine. Some communities are found in the territory of Kazakhstan (Ural and Semirechinskie Cossacks). They used to live mainly in the steppes, between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, and also in the Caucasus Mountains. Under the patronage of the Russian Empire, the Cossack people actively participated in the colonization of Siberia, conquering vast territories from the Ural Mountains to the Pacific Ocean, the Altai Mountains in Siberia, the steppes of Central Asia and also settling on the shores of the Ussuri River.

The main centers of the Cossack population are located in the regions of the Don, Kuban and Dnieper rivers, and are called Don and Kuban Cossacks, respectively. There are currently eleven traditional Cossack communities in the territories of the former Russian Empire and former Soviet Union. Most of them are concentrated in the territories of the current Russian Federation. The Cossacks originating from these regions are called Don Cossacks. Each of these regions has a local Cossack administrative authority. In addition there are Cossack organizations in Moscow and St. Petersburg with representations of their specific region:

The last census carried out before 1917 indicated that the Cossack population in Russia numbered more than 4 million people of both sexes, distributed mainly in the border regions of southern Russia. From 1920 onwards, the systematic persecution, reprisals and mass executions of the Cossack people began, unleashed by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union – more than two thirds of the Cossack population were exterminated in the first ten years of Soviet rule alone.

A large number of Cossacks were forced to emigrate and are now residents of other countries, such as France, Germany, Belgium, the United States, Canada, Australia, Argentina, Chile and many others. Many of these emigrants maintain close ties with Cossack communities in Russia. Some, as in the case of the Cossacks living in New Jersey, USA, maintain national Cossack museums and libraries, aimed at preserving the cultural, traditional and historical heritage of their people.

According to the official census of the Russian Federation in 2002, for the first time after the 1897 census, more than 140,000 people of both sexes (0.1% of the total population) in Russia openly indicated and officially declared their nationality as “Cossack”, residents and citizens of Russia.

XV-XVI Century

The last to leave the Golden Horde khans were the Horde (Ordinskie), Nagay (Nagayskie) and Astrakhan (Astrakhan) Cossacks – those who joined the Don Cossacks only in the second half of the 16th century. From then on, the life of the Cossacks was linked to the fate of the Grand Principalities of Moscow and Litva (Lithuania). In conditions of permanent threat from the Turks and Tatar-Mongols, they were forced to serve under the orders of two dynasties: the Rurik in Moscow and the Gediminovich (Гедиминович- rus.) in Litva (Lithuania). As a protest against this domination and forced alliance later came the birth and formation of two “Cossack republics” on the Don River and the Lower Dnieper River, after which began the revival and strengthening of Cossack independence, the formation of major centers of unification of the Cossack people.

However, not all Cossacks chose to return to the environment of their native land. Many of them, accustomed in the hundred years of life in territories of Moskovia (Russia), Litva (Lithuania) and Poland, stayed. Traditionally loyal to their allies and authority they become faithful defenders of the interests of the kniaz (princes), tsars and kings of the time, and in return they accept from the monarchs abundant royalties and privileges, land grants, titles of nobility, forming mixed families with Russians, Lithuanians, Poles, and gradually diluted in their environment forming their natural part. Children and grandchildren of Cossack emigrants also stayed in the Far North. Once accustomed to the harsh local climate, they moved in small groups to the East across mountain ranges and rivers, crossing extensive forest areas. They managed to dominate and conquer the local tribes, expanding the power of the Russian monarchs throughout Siberia. For a while they still remembered their ties with the Don Cossacks, called themselves “sons of the peaceful Don” (Deti Tikhogo Dona) and started the formation of the new Host’s or Voisko (civilian and absolutely autonomous – in peacetime), with new names: Terek Cossacks (North Caucasus), Siberian Cossacks or Transbaikal Cossacks.

United by their origins, they now found themselves divided by great distances and vast territories, as each formation continued its life on its own particular path. At the next stage of history, in the XVI-XVII centuries, most of the Cossacks belonged to the Zaporozhie and Don groups, the same ones who decided to return to their homeland: Kasak Land, on the plains of the Azov Sea coasts, and called themselves in the XVIII century as Chernomorskie Kazaki (Black Sea Cossacks), ancestors of the Kuban Cossacks.

The ancient history of the Cossack people has been reconstructed schematically for the time being, therefore, sometimes intentionally, for nationalistic, political or ideological reasons, some historians present it in a wrong way.

It is known that in ancient times there was a very well organized Cossack community of Zaporozhia, on the Dnieper River in the south of what is now Ukraine, which in turn was called Malorossia (“Little Russia”) at the time of the splendor of the Russian Empire. In the late Middle Ages, Cossack populations came under the crossfire of Poland, Lithuania and Russia, the three great powers in the area. The Muscovite Russians and Cossacks always lived in a tense relationship, with the latter launching raids on the villages and fields of the former, after which the latter would send punitive expeditions. In 1539 Grand Duke Basil III of Russia asked the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire to control the Cossacks, to which the Sultan replied: “The Cossacks do not swear allegiance to me and live as they please themselves”. Similarly 10 years later, in the year 1549, Russian Tsar Ivan the Terrible responded to a request from the Turkish Sultan to curb the aggressive actions of the Don Cossacks with the following: “The Don Cossacks are none of my business and go to war or live in peace without my knowledge”. Similar messages circulated between Russia, the Ottoman Empire and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, each of which sought to exploit Cossack bellicosity for its own interests. Finally, under the aegis of Ivan IV (Ivan the Terrible), an agreement was reached that allowed for the establishment of a special status for the Cossack community of the Don River (around 1570). These statutes guaranteed the autonomous administration of the Cossack communities, their tax-free commercial activities, land grants, titles of nobility for Cossack leaders – all this and more in exchange for permanent military service, ensuring internal and external defense and security, guarding Russia’s borders from enemy invasions.

Traditionally each Cossack was equipped with armament, ammunition, uniform, means of transport (horse), purchased entirely by each fighter individually or paid for by the community and his family. This was one of the deals with the Russian government regarding the Cossack obligation to the state in exchange for the privileges granted to their community. As time went by, the Cossack people would play a very important role in the Russian conquest of Siberia, settling new voiskos and stanitsas (Cossack settlements) throughout the length and breadth of the Asian continent.

XVI-XIX Centuries

In 1613, despite the opposition of some Russian leaders and princes, the Don Cossacks openly and vigorously demonstrated in support of the representative of the Romanov family to rule Russia – the young Mikhail Fyodorovich Romanov. In 1634, during the reign of this first Tsar of Russia, the claims of the Polish King Vladislav IV Vasa to the throne of Russia were put to an end. Since then the explicit and unconditional Cossack support serves as the basis for the power of the Romanov Dynasty at the head of the Russian Empire.

At the same time, Poland encouraged the Dnieper Cossacks to ally with the Ukrainians in order to establish a strongly anti-Russian principality. To this end, in early 1646 a secret meeting was held between the ataman of the Cossack community of the Dnieper River, Bohdan Khmelnytsky, and the Polish king Vladislav IV Vasa.

The negotiations did not lead to the expected result for the Cossacks and by 1648 they took up arms together with the Ukrainians against the growing ambition of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth to expand its dominion over the region. This resulted in the six-year War of Liberation between 1648 and 1654, in which the local Slavic peoples, Ukrainians and Russians, led by the Cossacks, rose up against the Poles. In February 1649 the Polish authorities again attempted to negotiate peace, offering a degree of autonomy to the Cossack communities in exchange for maintaining Polish authority over the region, but without considering the interests of the other local peoples, especially the Ukrainians. The negotiations were frustrated and a few months later, in the same year, Bohdán Jmelnytsky formalized diplomatic relations with Russia, thus getting the Don Cossacks loyal to the Russian monarchy to unite in support of the Cossack community of the Dnieper, led by Jmelnytsky. Between 1649 and 1651 fighting continued between the Poles and the unified Ukrainian and Cossack forces, with intermittent successes on both sides.

In the autumn of 1653, the Polish army under the command of John II Casimir Vasa launched a desperate offensive to regain and consolidate its authority over the region. On October 1, 1653, as a result of agreements and meetings with Bohdan Khmelnytsky, the Russian authorities authorized his support and formalized Russia’s participation in the War of Liberation. At the beginning of 1654, Russian Tsar Alexy I of Russia officially declared war on Poland, which ended in 1667. In the end, the fate of the first “polonized” Ukrainian state would be divided between the Russian Empire and Poland in 1667 according to the Treaty of Andrusovo. Along with this, the original historical ties between the Dnieper and Don Cossacks were restored and strengthened.

In 1670 another charismatic character of Cossack history, Stenka Razin, proclaimed the Cossack Republic in the city of Astrakhan, southern Russia, which lasted until 1671. Throughout history there were other attempts by the Cossack community to create an independent Cossack state. All of them were brutally repressed by the Russian, Ukrainian and Polish authorities at different times by military force or by creating political, religious and ideological divisions within the Cossack community itself. With the passage of time, and in particular during the great Russian campaigns of the 19th century (for example, the campaign against Napoleon Bonaparte, in which Matvéi Plátov, one of the greatest atamans, stood out), the Cossacks would end up being a powerful arm of the army of the House of Romanov (in a way, special forces of the time, where all the members of the army belong to the same ethnic community, similar to the situation of the Gurkhas of Nepal in the army of the United Kingdom).

XIX-XX Centuries

By 1914 there were 11 Cossack administrative communities, most of them (with the exception of the Don and Kuban Cossacks) located in different border areas of the Russian Empire (with Turkey or China, for example). This association between the Cossacks and the Romanov dynasty meant the fall from grace of the former after the Russian Revolution and during the Russian Civil War, as the Bolsheviks did not accept the special status the Cossacks had had in the Russian Empire. All Cossacks swore to the flag of the Russian Empire and absolute loyalty to the Tsar. Since after the revolts of 1917, Tsar Nicholas himself refused the crown and the throne of the monarchy and the Empire itself began to crumble, the Cossacks no longer felt obliged to follow the internal interests of the Russians. The numerous political parties of the time were striving to come to power and dominate what was left of the Empire.

After the February Revolution, the first Cossack National Congress was held in the city of Petrograd on April 4, 1917, which brought together representatives of the eleven Cossack communities of Russia and one of the first decrees issued by it was the expulsion from their regiments of all military personnel who were not of Cossack origin.

Considering all the above and under the leadership of Pyotr Krasnov, the Don Cossack ataman, the Cossack community tried again to create an independent Cossack republic – the union of Don and Kuban Cossacks. On May 17, 1918 the Cossack Republic was proclaimed, with statutes, constitution, parliament and political-administrative system of a federal state. Ataman Pyotr N. Krasnov was elected the first president of the Cossack Republic (1918-1919). The republic included 10 provinces with the capital in the city of Novocherkassk. The official flag was composed of three colors, symbolically representing the three main nations of this Cossack Republic: Cossacks – blue; Tatars and Kalmyks – yellow; Russians – red.

Finally the republic was abolished (1921), as the Russian commanders of the White Army, composed mainly of Mensheviks and Russian monarchists, opposed the Cossack independence movement. During the Russian Civil War the relations between the Russian “volunteers” (of the monarchist White Volunteer Army) and the Cossacks were difficult. Dissensions between the monarchist Russian “Mensheviks” and the nationalist Cossacks (the latter being supporters of the Romanov monarchy) damaged the relations. On the other hand, the Cossacks were also fought by the “Bolsheviks” and the Red Army, since they had traditionally been allies of the repressive forces of the Empire.

Moreover, the Cossacks themselves were not united among themselves, and had different views regarding their national identity, traditions and culture. During the civil war there were Cossack factions fighting on opposite sides, even periodically switching from one side to the other.

The Soviet Era: 1922-1990

When the Soviet state was established, the tradition and culture of the Cossack people were promoted. However, later there were Cossacks fighting on both sides of the German-Soviet conflict – as members of the German and Soviet troops. Some Cossack emigrants decided to revolt against Stalin in an attempt to obtain a definitive Cossack independence. For their part, the Germans and Italians even promised them to create a Cossack state in Carnia, in northern Italy, safe from Stalinist persecution. The Cossacks who fought in the Red Army prioritized above all the integrity of the Soviet Union, as the natural “heir” of the Russian Empire.

Once the war was over, and complying with the terms previously agreed upon at the Yalta Conference, Great Britain and the United States decided to wash their hands of the war and let Stalin deal with the Cossacks as he saw fit, deporting every Cossack they could find in Europe back to the Soviet Union. Among the tens of thousands of refugees from occupied Eastern Europe were mixed Nazi collaborationists, anti-communists, military men and ordinary civilians without any ideological or political background, both exiles from the Soviet Union and emigrants from the Russian Civil War era. In the group, there were also approximately 50,000 Cossacks, including women, elderly and children from the defunct Russian Empire who were never citizens of the Soviet Union. In fact, many were born in the post-Civil War 1920s-1930s, already emigrated to Serbia or Western Europe. All were rounded up in Austria and forcibly repatriated in Operation Keelhaul. Most were directed to the Soviet zone in Germany. Many of the Cossack refugees, both military and civilian, were summarily executed (as revenge for being old enemies of the Russian Civil War, and for their later collaboration with the Nazis during World War II), sometimes shot in full view of the British. Others were sent to Siberia or Central Asia and condemned to forced labor in Soviet concentration camps.

The fate of the Cossacks who fought against the Nazis in the ranks of the Red Army was also predetermined. Free of the need to use them as troops, Stalin decided to integrate them into the Red Army. Many Cossacks, military and civilian, men, women and children, survivors of the Russian Civil War and World War II, ended their days in the gulag, as prisoners in forced labor camps in regions of Siberia, Central Asia and the Russian Far East.


The late 1980s marked the history of Russia with significant changes in the social and political system, the emergence of new organizations and the revival of old socio-political institutions and traditional communities, lost or repressed in Soviet times. Among these were the Cossacks. According to 1992 statistics, about 10,000,000 men and women citizens of Russia, Ukraine and other countries of the world self-identify and consider themselves as Cossacks originating from or descended from Cossacks. Many of them are grouped in organizations of popular, cultural or folkloric type, some of which even enjoy official recognition by the authorities, supported by decrees and laws that authorize with certain limitations and statutes the traditional Cossack organization and structure.

72 years after the Russian Revolution, on November 14, 1989 the Supreme Soviet of the former USSR issued a declaration “On the recognition of the illegality and criminality of repressive acts against the peoples, victims of forced displacement and the need to guarantee their rights”. The above-mentioned decree affirmed the right of the Cossack community to rehabilitation. In this way bodies of the legislative and executive power of the Russian Federation recognized the Cossack community as a people who had suffered massive, systematic and organized terror on the part of the Soviet authorities of that time.

Irrespective of the granted statuses, the Cossacks scattered in all regions of Russia are part of a large socio-cultural community, mostly polyconfessional, the members of which are self-determined and self-identify themselves as Cossacks of origin. On June 30, 1990, the first Bolshoi Krug (Grand Circle – traditional Cossack parliamentary conference) was held in Moscow. This resulted in the formation of the Cossack Union, which initially brought together 29 Cossack organizations. In October 1991, Cossack leaders formed the Cossack Union of Southern Russia.

On July 17-18, 1993, the Unified Supreme Krug (Congress) of the Cossack communities of Russia and abroad was held in Moscow. At this, the city of Novocherkassk was unanimously proclaimed as the capital of all Cossack communities of Russia and the rest of the world.

On June 15, 1992, the President of the Russian Federation issues the Decree “On measures for implementation of the Law of the Russian Federation in connection with the rehabilitation of the Cossack ethnic community”, ordering textually “to impose judgment on the state policy of the Communist Party of the time of carrying out repressions, arbitrariness and illegalities against the Cossack community and its representatives, with the aim of rehabilitating this historical ethnic community”. On July 16, 1992, the Supreme Soviet of the Russian Federation issued Decree No. 3321-1, legally putting an end to all repressive, criminal and illegal actions suffered by the Cossack community since 1918.

In January 1995, the General Directorate for Cossack Communities was created as part of the Presidential Cabinet. On August 9, 1995, Decree No. 835 of the President of the Russian Federation declares “Temporary Rules on the state registration of Cossack communities in the Russian Federation”. In 1998 the General Directorate of Cossack Communities was transformed into the Directorate of the President of the Russian Federation on Cossack Community Affairs.

By 1999 the initial support shown by the Russian State to the Cossack organizations decreased significantly. This was mainly due to the markedly separatist and nationalist ideas expressed by some of the Cossack representatives and leaders, with the primary objective of gaining autonomy, sovereignty and formal political recognition of the “Kazakh Republic” in territories populated in a compact way mostly by Cossacks of origin, the North Caucasus, the region of the lower and middle Volga River, the Ural River (including the city of Chelyabinsk) and the north-western regions of the Aral Sea. Undoubtedly, if realized, it would cause an instant conflict with other peoples residing in these territories, including outside Russia, as in the case of Kazakhstan. Logically, these ideas are considered by the government to be separatist and unconstitutional in today’s Russian Federation.

On February 25, 2003, Decree No. 249 of the President of Russia orders the appointment of General-Colonel Gennadiy Tróshev to the post of Advisor to the President on Cossack communities’ affairs.

The movement for the revival of Cossack culture and traditions passed a complex path from the few and small informal groups of the 1980s composed of enthusiasts of Cossack origin, to centralized para-military systems (“reiestr” in Russian, a type of registration) of Cossack organizations registered by the state in the 1990s. Under the latter concept, there are currently 10 officially para-military organizations (“reiéstrovie kazaki”: registered Cossacks) in Russia in the Volga, Don, Yenisei, Transbaikal, Irkutsk, Kuban, Orenburg, Central Siberia, Terek and Ussuri regions. In addition – there are 16 other Cossack organizations with special status of the same type. In total, these organizations comprise 660,000 Cossacks “registered” (officially registered) by the state.

However, the majority of Cossack organizations are rather socio-cultural in nature. According to 2000 statistics, there are currently more than 680 traditional Cossack socio-cultural communities in the Russian Federation.

In 2002, there was an attempt to politicize the Cossack nationalist movement with the formation of the political party Partia Kazaki Rosii, PKR (PCR, “Cossack Party of Russia”), which in the end was unsuccessful.

On October 11, 2008, in the city of Novocherkassk (Russia), the III World Cossack Congress was held. For the first time this event was sponsored by the Government of the Russian Federation. More than 500 representatives of Cossack communities from Russia and other countries of the world gathered to discuss various aspects of current economic, political, cultural and informational issues, as well as norms and rights in connection with activities of Cossack communities in Russia and abroad. The Congress adopted a resolution on the creation and development of the Cossack community’s own media – Internet resources, print media and TV channel.

In 2008 the production studio “Massalskiy Multi Merdia” started to develop the realization of the social-educational project “Kazak-TV” ( . The aim of this project is the creation of a unified information-cultural space of the Cossack community of Russia, preservation and dissemination of Cossack culture and traditions, as well as education and training of the young generation of the Cossack community. In interview of the head (S) of the President’s Administration, head of the Council of the President of Russian Federation on the affairs of Cossack Communities, Mr. Alexander Beglov indicated to “RIA Novosti” (“РИА Новости”) that by the beginning of 2010 and “according to expert assessments, about 7 million people in Russia are officially considered to belong to the Cossack community.”

Russian Cossacks founded numerous settlements (called stanitsa) and fortresses along the “problematic borders” such as the forts of Vernyi (Almaty, Kazakhstan) in southern Central Asia, Grozny in the North Caucasus, Aleksandrovsk Fort (Fort Shevchenko, Kazakhstan), Krasnovodsk (Turkmenistan), Novonikolayevskaya stanitsa (Bautino, Kazakhstan), Blagoveshensk and cities and settlements on major rivers, such as the Ural, Ishim, Irtysh, Ob, Yenisei, Lena, Amur, Anadyr (Chukotka) and Ussury rivers.

Cossacks are sometimes regarded as xenophobes, especially by contemporary Jewish historians, who accuse the Ukrainian Cossacks of Zaporizhia of the massacre of Jews during the Khmelnytsky Rebellion and of participating in anti-Jewish pogroms in the 16th-17th centuries.

As time passed, the Cossacks easily adapted to the cultures and customs of nearby peoples (particularly the Terek Cossacks, who were greatly influenced by the culture of the North Caucasian tribes). They frequently married local residents (other settlers and non-Cossack natives) regardless of their race or origin and sometimes setting aside religious restrictions. Wives brought from distant lands after a war were also not uncommon in Cossack families.

Each Cossack settlement, alone or in conjunction with neighboring settlements, formed military units and regiments of light cavalry (or mounted infantry) ready to respond to a threat at short notice.

The myth about the original composition and organization of the Cossack community, which points to the mass admission into its ranks of fugitives from the law, slaves and indebted peasants has no sense or serious basis. The version about the subversive and bandit character of the Cossack society was fed mainly by contemporary Russian historians of the Soviet period , with clearly specific objectives – to prejudicially compromise the origin and existence of an entire ethnic community as such .

The traditional cooperation and alliance of the Cossacks with great lieutenants and various foreign authorities could not have taken place in case the Cossack society was composed entirely of criminals and runaway slaves from their owners, landowners and foreign warlords. The hypothesis about escaped slaves, who first took refuge in the steppes and later, by creating a powerful armed organization, again obeyed the orders of their former oppressors, sounds at least like an absurdity . However, throughout their history the Cossacks gladly cooperated with the aristocracies, large landowners and landlords of the time.

Only this factor alone eliminates the version about the escaped peasants who called themselves “Cossacks”. The original Cossacks of that time did not know about social antagonisms. Therefore, the Cossack leaders easily and independently established relations and agreements of all kinds with their peers from other nations and peoples, with neighboring respectable foreign authorities – Tatar, Polish, Russian, Ukrainian, etc. These relations had also other purely strategic purposes for the benefit of the Cossack community. The participation and alliance of the magnates and various authorities made it possible to see the Cossack military excursions and expeditions as objectives with the characteristics of the needs of a state and the needs of a nation.

The Cossack community was more or less autonomous; it could consist of a village (stanitsa in the singular, stanitsi in the plural) or a fortified camp (gorodki). Initially, the Cossacks had an enormous degree of autonomy, but over time their association with the Russian Empire led to their authorities (the Ataman) being directly elected by the tsar, albeit with certain restrictions.

The Cossack people are governed by rules that severely punish the crimes of theft, murder, treason and many others, especially when they were committed against a representative or interests of their community. The sanction applied to a person who gets drunk in public, or mistreats a woman is an unspecified number of lashes in the maidan (square), with the nagaika, a traditional Cossack whip which is also considered a weapon (the Cossacks from a very early age learned to handle it as part of their martial arts training). Sanctions spare no one, and a Cossack regardless of status and economic level can be sentenced to death for stealing community funds or for treason. The common sanction is to be whipped in a public place in front of the entire local community. It is characteristic that after receiving the punishment the offender bows and thanks the elders aloud for the “lesson”.

Those in charge of dictating the rules and ordering the sanctions were the local judges, the most respected men, elected (or re-elected) together with the rest of the administration (including the ataman: the highest authority of the local Cossack community) by the whole community in a democratic way once a year, an internal Cossack tradition that has been in force since approximately the 10th century and up to now. The judge had the power to punish all members of the community, women and men, without exception, including the ataman. The ataman or hetman (head of a region or a community, democratically elected by all once a year, older than 18 years, respected and recognized by the whole community) enjoys great prestige throughout his area and is the supreme military commander in times of war, while in times of peace he is the administrator and head of the local authority. Starting in 1891, Cossack communities officially raised the age limit for election to the office of ataman to at least 33 years of age. To be elected as a judge (“sudiá” in Russian) of the community, the applicant had to be at least 45 years old, in addition to other respective attributes and characteristics. Absolutely all Cossack military and civic administrative and military positions went through an internal community election process. Among other positions – general accountant (secretary (“písar”) – in charge of keeping control of internal and external documentation of the community, etc. In the Krugs (popular assemblies), normally annual, important decisions are taken, including the elections (or reelections) of the authorities. In its structure there are no great social differences and everyone fights and works for the group, for their village. Residents or neighbors of Cossack settlements, not belonging to the Cossack community (“inogorodnie”, read foreigners) could also participate in Cossack people’s assemblies (“krug”), as long as they deal with the issues involving their interests, however only with the right to speak – not to vote. The right to vote in Cossack communities was reserved exclusively for native Cossacks.

The three ideals that govern Cossack society are: freedom, tradition and discipline. Children are enrolled in military academies from a young age, and the military sentiment within their customs is very strong. While it is true that military training was primary, at the same time each member of the community has absolute freedom to choose a civilian profession or trade according to his personal interest and ability, to study and train in fields that are not necessarily warlike.

Internal solidarity is also very present. As an example: in ancient times, in the Cossack community of Zaporiyia (ancestors of the Kuban Cossacks, displaced by the Russian authorities to the shores of the Kuban River and the Black Sea), the young men who are the sole breadwinners of their family, and are the only descendants – family men, were given an earring in their ear, which for a commander meant that they were exempted from dangerous missions. In any case, this did not prevent the participation of these young men in combat or high-risk missions, in which case the decision to participate was voluntary.

Women have a passive role in society, but in the past they came to fight alongside men. They usually had to raise the children, tend the fields and businesses and take care of the property, while their husbands remained away on military campaigns. But sometimes entire Cossack families and communities, including children, women and the elderly, followed behind their troops with all their belongings (during the civil war and afterwards, when Cossack troops were part of the German Army in its fight against the Red Army). Historian John Ure explains this fascination that Cossack women could exert: “Women in a Cossack stanitsa were very different from their counterparts in northern Russia, explains Ure, and radically opposed to women who might be found in a Turkish harem further south. Cossack women were famous for their independence and spirit; they participated in the same jobs as the men and also shared the camaraderie in the camp.” In any case, Cossack women, particularly older ones, always enjoy great respect in the Cossack community. While it is true that important community decisions are always made by men, Cossack women enjoy freedoms and equal treatment and a lot of respect, even since the 15th century, unimaginable in the society of that time in other nations.

When founding a stanitsa (Cossack settlement), first a church and a school (mixed – for men and women) were erected and only after that the rest of the buildings were erected – hospitals, private houses, barns, agrarian and administrative structures…. The level of education in Cossack stanitsas was very high for that time, even in our times. In 1850, in Russia the percentage of illiteracy reached 85%. At the same time in Cossack communities this rate did not reach 5%. All this cultural development was sponsored and financed solely by their own means. The cost of education was always borne by the local Cossack community concerned about its future and creation of its own Cossack intellectual class, allocating large sums of money from common funds.

All these stanitsa sent their youth for long service in regiment and each of them was equipped by his parents with his own horse, saddle, uniform (in traditional Cossack style), weapons and ammunition. Therefore, each family gave to the military service not only its strongest, healthiest and most valuable representatives – but also sponsored by contributing significant sums of money for the equipment of their sons – young Cossack fighters. In spite of everything, these were hard-working, hard-working people, with heart and intelligence, who tried to get the maximum profit from their lands rich in natural resources; their stanitsas were conspicuous for their economic and cultural achievements.

During the civil war and later, in Soviet times, the Cossack administrative, educational and military system was doomed to disappear. For a long time membership in the Cossack community or the very word “Cossack” would mean repression, harassment, forced displacement, punishment or simply capital punishment – death. One of the main reasons for the policies and practices of open genocide against the Cossack community, implemented by the Bolshevik and Communist and Socialist Party authorities of the time, can be seen in the comments of Leon Trotsky: “The Cossack community is the only community of all the peoples of Russia with the capacity for self-organization and self-determination. For this reason they (the Cossacks) must be exterminated head by head (sic – “completely”).”

Such remarks of the Bolshevik leaders on the “application of terror” (textual) were made official on January 24, 1919 by the VTsIK (ВЦИК – in Russian) directive with decree and Law (!) “On Extermination of the Cossacks” (!) – a case which was unprecedented until that time in the history of Russia, where a whole entire ethnic group was declared and condemned to extermination legally and by decree. There are written decrees, signed by communist leaders of the Soviet era literally ordering “to impose terror and physical extermination (verbatim) on the Cossack communities, without age and sex discrimination… and the total expropriation of their property for the benefit of the Soviet people” (verbatim)…. (Archive Source: Izvestia, Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (K.P.S.S.S.), year 1989 , N°6, pages 177-178 – Directive of the Central Committee of the R.K.P. (Russian Communist Party), Signed: Chairman of the Organizational Bureau – Yakov Sverdlov, January 24, 1919).

January 24 is declared by the Cossack community in Russia as the Cossack Remembrance Day – in memory and in honor of the Cossack people, victims of political repression and open genocide, officially initiated with the signing of the decree on January 24, 1919 by Yakov Sverdlov, one of the top leaders of the Russian Communist Party of that time. The systematic repression and extermination of the Cossack people lasted for more than a decade; from 1919 to 1931 inclusive, causing the death of more than two thirds of the total Cossack population. 70 years later, in 1991, the Law of the Russian Federation “On the rehabilitation of the repressed peoples” was adopted. With the adoption of the Law, the Cossack community residing in Russia was recognized as a people who have suffered terror and repressions in the period of Soviet power and subsequently rehabilitated by the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation with Decree No. 3321-1 of July 16, 1992, “On rehabilitation of the Cossack people”. In this decree, the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation declares as an objective “the complete rehabilitation of the Cossack people and the creation of the necessary conditions for their rebirth” and decrees illegal and decides to suspend “all actions committed against the Cossack people since 1918 specifically related to repressions against them”.

Today some Cossack communities are demanding the return of traditional possessions and self-administration in order to establish their laws and customs in the territories traditionally populated by Cossacks. Today, however, the Cossacks are treated with respect and feel part of the civil society of the Russian Federation – a multicultural state, made up of more than 100 different nationalities living together on the same territory under the same Constitution and laws. The same situation is observed in Ukraine, where Cossacks, as in Russia, are an inseparable part of the country’s history.

Militarily, the Cossacks were divided into armies or hosts (voisko in singular, voiska in plural). These were divided into regiments, which in turn were made up of squadrons (sotnias, a word meaning centuries). Each voisko was in charge of an ataman, the highest military authority (the official confirmation in this position came directly from the tsar, but the person appointed to the post had to be a Cossack by origin.

The responsiveness of the Cossacks to a war threat was extraordinary for the time. As an example – for a mass mobilization of a regular army of the time it took at least 2-3 months – including basic training and relocation. However, the Cossack organizational structure in the event of a conflict made it possible to triple the number of mobilized fighters of all highly trained Cossack troops without any prior preparation and deploy them in one to two weeks. At the outbreak of the First World War, in a very short time only the Kuban Cossacks delivered to the Russian Army a maximum number of regiments and battalions: 4 guard platoons, 37 cavalry regiments, 22 infantry battalions (“plastun” Cossacks), 38 special platoons (special troops), 9 mounted artillery commanders and 11 reserve platoons.

They primarily supplied cavalry to the Tsar’s army, although in time they also provided infantry contingents, and even artillery batteries and aviators. In fact, the first Commander of the Russian Air Force was the fighter pilot General Vyacheslav Tkachov, a Cossack native of Kuban.

In ambushes, high-risk missions and special operations the Cossack troops were unbeatable. The guerrilla tactics developed and perfected by the Cossacks to engage and defeat their enemies are widely used even today by special forces around the world. However, Western military observers had mixed opinions about their effectiveness in warfare, mainly because of their “unconventional” discipline. In any case, the importance of the Cossacks in the Tsarist army was such that they provided about two thirds of the cavalry regiments in 1914, including the Konvoi or personal escort of the Tsar which was composed entirely of Cossack members from the Kuban and the Terek. The Imperial Guard, on its part (the elite corps of the Tsarist army), received contributions from the Don Cossack voisko.

“(…) With their Cossack fur caps, long mustaches and knee-high boots gave them a very special and colorful touch… (…) …they traditionally rode with all their belongings loaded on wagons and carts, with their wives and children, accompanied by thousands of horses… (…) This was the picture revived from the times of the war of 1812. The Cossacks are well known to be remarkable horsemen par excellence, and during the whole route they confirmed this reputation. The cavalry squadrons galloped backwards and forwards on all roads, hindering the movement no less than the wagons and carts. It was absolutely useless to order them to do anything: very few of them understood German or English, and those who did understand something in another language, in no way showed the slightest interest in obeying the orders of the English or of anyone who was not their Cossack commander. With all that chaos we could only marvel at how they in an extremely quick and orderly manner responded to the order to assemble at the planned points of concentration – already in the morning of the next day they were all at the assigned places. Absolutely all of them – men, women, children, their baggage, their thousands of horses, the carts and wagons, the cows and oxen, even the camels!”

Perhaps one of the greatest military feats of the Cossacks was the service rendered to the Army of the Russian Empire during the Napoleonic invasion at the beginning of the 19th century. Like the French, the Prussian theorist of war, von Clausewitz, would have been astonished by the way in which the Cossacks threw themselves with the greatest ferocity on the rear of the troops of Paris that were retreating in disorder and in the middle of winter from Russia. The Russian troops reached the French capital, together with the Cossacks, and one of them, the ataman Matvéi Plátov, would become famous among the English and would parade with his Cossack troops in Hyde Park. In London, as before in Paris, the legendary Cossacks had become one of the great attractions for the public attending the victory parades against Napoleon.

It became legendary the anecdote that Napoleon once said, although he thought of them that they were little less than savages: “give me 20 thousand Cossacks, and I will conquer all Europe and even the whole world”. The answer of the Cossacks of the Don is no less legendary, through the mouth of their atamans (chiefs), and it would have been this: “send 20 thousand French, and in 20 years you will have 20 thousand Cossacks. But all of them will serve Russia”.

“Cossack “Armada

In most historical sources, data abound and the traditional Cossack equestrian prowess and proficiency – particularly in the Cossack cavalry troops – are commonly known. Much less known is the existence between the 15th and 17th century of the Cossack “Armada”, a kind of irregular navy with its own mobilization capacity, deployment and naval tactics, both in the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, as well as in the local rivers that flow into both seas.

Historical sources indicate that the Cossacks of the Dnieper and Don have been setting out to sea annually, often several times a year, since about the end of the 15th century. The first official victory of the Cossack fleet dates back to 1492, off the coast of the Crimean peninsula, in the port of Tighina (now Bender). In that year the Crimean Khanate complained to the Turkish authorities that the Cossacks attacked, plundered and burned a Turkish ship.

The Cossack fleet of the Black and Caspian Seas consisted mainly of small, short vessels called “Chaika” (Russian for “seagull”). They were usually 10-20 meters long and 2-3 meters wide, had no keel and no deck, and had the capacity to accommodate up to 50 crew and 10-20 passengers. They were fast moving by means of 10-15 pairs of oars. There were also Cossack ships of medium length and of great resistance called “Koch”; they were mainly used by the Siberian Cossacks in their excursions in the Arctic Ocean. These had only one mast, one deck and two rudders (one at the stern and one at the bow).

The main purpose of these sorties was to attack commercial vessels and surprise attacks on the cities and towns of the Ottoman Empire in coastal areas of the Black and Caspian Seas. At the same time they were used to free captive Cossacks and prisoners belonging to their community.

The French engineer and military cartographer Guillaume LeVasseur de Beauplan, who for 17 years had observed the life of the Cossacks at that time, wrote: “Between 50 and 70 people were embarked per “chaika”. Each crewman carried a saber, two rifles, three kilos of gunpowder, a large quantity of lead, and each carried a watch (!), and wore light clothing in addition to shirt and change pants. Each boat had 4-6 falconets (small marine guns), ammunition and enough provisions for the entire crew. This is what the Cossack “flying” troop of the Black Sea looks like.”

Cossack military expeditions in the Black Sea and Caspian Sea were mainly carried out in spring or autumn, almost always at night, and taking advantage of the fog and low visibility of the time, they moved in a very compact way. The number of vessels varied according to specific military purposes and objectives, from 15 to 300 ships. However, the Cossack marine expedition under the command of the ataman Sagaidachniy simultaneously gathered 1500 “chaikas”, among the Cossacks of the Dnieper and Don. The Cossacks sailed up the Dnieper River to the exit to the open sea guarded by the Turkish navy fleet. Before reaching the mouth of the river the Cossacks scattered along the coast, waiting for the first carelessness of the Turks. At night, silently, unseen among the waves and covered by dense fog, on board their “chaikas” they would approach one or two Turkish ships, and between them they would take them on board and immediately use all the firepower of the captured ships against the rest of the Turkish fleet. Regardless of the success or failure of the attack, they quickly retreated in their “chaikas”, carrying the booty (arms, ammunition, goods, prisoners…) or without it, back to their stanitsas or nearby field detachments on the coast.

From the 15th to the end of the 17th century, Cossack naval expeditions were constant. Some names of Cossack sea commanders have survived in history until today: Stenka Razin, Samiyla Kishka, Bogdan Mikoshinskiy, Ivan Sulima, Semyon Dezhniov and Petro Sagaidachniy. Under the command of the latter, in 1605 the Cossacks seized the Turkish port of Varna, in 1606 they sacked the port of Caffa (Theodosia) where they burned the entire local Turkish fleet and freed all slaves and prisoners of Christian faith. In 1615, the Cossack fleet led by Sagaidachniy took control over the Bosphorus Strait; they reached Constantinople and attacked the palace of the Turkish Sultan. On this occasion they engaged in two bloody battles with the Turkish Navy. They were victorious in both battles, took the first commander of the Turkish Navy hostage and killed the second. In 1648, Ataman Semyon Dezhniov led a sea expedition of Siberian Cossacks and Russian merchants. Ataman Dezhnyov sailed aboard a “koch” up the Siberian Kolymá River to the Pacific Ocean, skirted the Chukotka Peninsula and the entire northeastern tip of the Eurasian continent by sea. With the marine feat of this Cossack it was discovered for the first time that Asia is not connected with Alaska (North American continent) and that there is the possibility of sailing at certain times of the year through the Arctic Ocean from Europe to China.

According to statistics, between 1492 and 1696, the Cossack fleet officially participated in 66 major naval battles. Not all of them were favorable to the Cossacks, but they always maintained the reputation of being a dangerous and ruthless opponent at sea. At the end of the 17th century, the political situation in Europe and in particular in the Black Sea coastal region changed drastically with the entry of the Russian Empire on the scene. From then on the Cossack fleet as such ceased to exist (officially in 1775). Later Empress Catherine II of Russia ordered the gradual displacement of the Cossack populations from the Dnieper to the Kuban region.

Some of the most emblematic representatives of the Cossack people, throughout the different epochs of Cossack history, also of Russia and Ukraine, were popular leaders, military men, writers, engineers, poets, artists, scientists, etc. We can mention Stenka Razin, Yemelian Pugachov, Yermak Timofeyevich, Bohdan Khmelnytsky, Petro Sahaidachny (in: Petro Konashevych-Sahaidachny), atamans Matvei Platov, Semyon Dezhnyov, Pyotr Krasnov, Lavr Kornilov, Andrei Shkuro and Babych, Mikhail Gétmanov; writers Mikhail Sholokhov and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, poet Nikolai Turovérov and composer Vasily Safonov.

In another area, a well-known Cossack descendant in Chile is the grandson of Piotr Krasnov, retired General Miguel Krassnoff, who is condemned in Punta Peuco prison for human rights violations committed during the civil-military regime headed by General Pinochet.

The Cossack national costumes are the kaftan (a type of jacket) or the cherkesska, a long tunic of Circassian origin, with attached cartridge pouches. They also wear the papaja – a type of fur cap, or the bashlyk – a kind of cap usually worn over the shoulders. The Don Cossacks, in times of the Russian Empire, were further distinguished by blue pants with a red stripe – a distinction that in ancient times meant “tax-free”. They have a huge repertoire of songs and dances, most of which were warlike deeds. Their craftsmanship in bladed weapons is legendary, and includes the making of the kinzhal (Caucasian dagger), the shashka (traditional Cossack saber which translates as “long knife”) and the nagaika (whip or riding crop, also considered a weapon in traditional Cossack martial arts). The Cossack tradition also has a place in the equestrian world with the very particular and famous mastery of the “dzhigitovka”, an elaborate ancient equestrian art in which they demonstrate their skill with acrobatics and mastery worthy of admiration.

Essential part of the internal Cossack tradition considers:

Parental authority is unconditional and permanent. Without the parents’ authorization, no family activity, no work, and no important decision involving the whole family can begin. Upon the death of the parents, the authority is inherited by the godparents of the family members. In specific cases, such as a man’s military training, the godfather has an even greater role and responsibility than the natural father. Godmothers are responsible for passing on the values and duties of a woman to Cossack girls. Disobedience to parents is considered an unforgivable sin. When addressing the father or mother, one should always say “you”.

In the presence of an elderly person, all must rise from their posts and (in the case of men and if they are not in military uniform), remove their caps and bow to salute. In the presence of an elderly person it is not permitted to remain seated, smoke, have a drink or converse, except with his express permission or approval, but vulgar vocabulary may never be used.

Cossack pride has a very special peculiarity: it is considered a sin to refuse help to someone who asks for it. A Cossack proverb says: “It is better to give and give all your life, than all your life to ask for help and favors”. Traditionally Cossacks kept a rule of making do and make do with what they had and not with what they wanted to have, in order to avoid debts. Debts are considered an unforgivable personal disgrace and are avoided by all means.

Regarding the myth of “drinking like a Cossack”, vulgar and drunken people did not enjoy any respect within the Cossack community and were despised until death. Alcoholics, when they died, were buried in a cemetery apart from the others, together with the suicides. Instead of a cross on the grave of a suicide or an alcoholic, a maple stake was nailed to the grave. It is worth mentioning that the Cossacks were always admirers of good cooking, after-dinner conversations, choral singing, dances, merry stories, jokes and jests, also good drinks, but not drunkenness. Cossacks do not fill glasses with alcohol at the table; they are served on a tray and handed out to the guests. If someone is too drunk, the tray is passed over, and they are even invited directly to rest so that they do not show themselves to be in a questionable state. The Cossack tradition in this regard is: “If you want to, drink; if you don’t want to, don’t drink, but you should raise your glass with the others and at least wet your lips”. There are several Cossack proverbs in connection with the above: “You can serve a drink but you cannot force yourself to drink it”, “Drink but do not lose your senses, your reason and your brain”. In times of war and

Among the anecdotal curiosities of “Cossack influence” in other cultures, we can mention the origin of the name Bistró in France. It is said that the concept of Fast Food, called Bistró in French, appeared in Europe during the Napoleonic Wars in the 19th century, when the Cossacks requested in restaurants to be served something as fast as possible, repeatedly saying: “Bystro! Bystro!” (fast). French Bistró-type restaurants took this name from then on.

Although there is a small minority of Catholic and Muslim Cossacks in Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan, the majority of Cossacks belong to the Russian Orthodox Church. The relationship between the Cossacks and the Orthodox Church runs deep, has a long history and has had important influences on both the history of the Cossacks and the Orthodox Church. Historically and traditionally Cossacks are Orthodox Christians, and are considered protectors and guardians of the Orthodox Church. Today, in Cossack communities, as in the rest of the world, there is tolerance and respect with regard to personal religious beliefs. This also happens in relation to neighbors of other nationalities and their beliefs. Consequently, we could say that Cossack anti-Semitism is a thing of the past.

The Cossacks have long served romantics as an ideal of freedom and resistance to external authority, and their military successes against the enemies of the Russian people have helped to foster this favorable image. To others they have been the symbol of repression because of their role in quelling popular revolts in the Russian Empire, as well as in their assaults against the Jews.

There is a clear contradiction between the internal (primitive, but federal-democratic) system of the Cossack community and the dominant socio-political systems of the time – authoritarian, monarchical, etc. However, this factor did not hinder the acceptance by the neighboring authorities of multilateral relations for various purposes throughout history, taking advantage of the Cossack organization, structure and warfare capabilities. While within the Cossack community there was never slavery or dictatorship, and all important decisions for the benefit of the internal society were taken always considering the Cossack popular vote – in their external relations the Cossacks had no qualms (beyond their interests) in supporting authoritarian states and governments, absolutely opposite and contrary in their structure, system, politics and internal organization. Therefore we can see in different periods of history, how the Cossacks were key participants and protagonists: on the battlefields in the defense of the interests of different states; in popular revolts, against the same authorities and state bodies; in repressions of various popular revolts, in defense of the interests of the state; in periodic proclamations of their independence in the non-acceptance of any external authority, etc.

Literary reflections on Cossack culture abound in Russian literature, particularly in the works of Nikolai Gogol, Leo Tolstoy, Mikhail Sholokhov and the poet Nikolai Turoverov. The short novel written by Leo Tolstoy called The Cossacks is an example of the above. In turn, these reflections had a period of diffusion in Europe during romanticism, in which writers such as the Spanish José de Espronceda dedicated poems to them. Sir John Ure, British diplomat and contemporary author, in his book The Cossacks, uses his experience as a travel writer to extract the most spectacular accounts from the inexhaustible vein of Cossack literature and legend. The Cossacks emerge as a people always courageous, often unpredictable, sometimes cruel, but never dull.

Russian Cossacks

In the Russian Empire the Cossacks were organized in several voisko, who lived along the Russian external borders or along its internal borders between Russian and non-Russian peoples.



  1. Cosaco
  2. Cossacks
  3. ^ Belarusian: казакi [kazaˈkʲi]Czech: kozáci [ˈkozaːtsɪ]Spanish: cosaco [koˈsako]Estonian: Kasakad [ˈkɑsɑkɑd]Finnish: Kasakat [ˈkɑsɑkɑt]French: cosaques [kozak]Hungarian: kozákok [ˈkozaːkok]Italian: cosacchi [koˈzakki]Old East Slavic: коза́киPolish: Kozacy [kɔˈzatsɨ]Portuguese: cossacos [koˈsakuʃ]Romanian: cazaci [kaˈzatʃʲ]Russian: казаки́ or козаки́ [kəzɐˈkʲi]Slovak: kozáci [ˈkɔzaːtsi]Ukrainian: козаки́ [kozɐˈkɪ]
  4. Belarusian: казакi [kazaˈkʲi]
  5. Archivado el 18 de enero de 2017 en Wayback Machine.
  6. Lester W. Grau (1993). «The Cossack Brotherhood Reborn: A Political/military Force in a Realm of Chaos». Foreign Military Studies Office, Fort Leavenworth, KS. Archivado desde el original el 26 de agosto de 2015. Consultado el 23 de agosto de 2015.
  7. Para un análisis más detallado, véase Omeljan Pritsak. “The Turkic Etymology of the Word Qazaq ‘Cossack’.” Harvard Ukrainian Studies 28.1-4 (2006/2007): 237-XII.
  8. Состоящем из латино-персидско-куманской и кумано-немецкой части.
  9. Так, украинское народное предание и некоторые исследователи склонны отождествлять с подобным правителем беклярбека Золотой Орды Мамая, чьи потомки участвовали в формировании казачества на Украине, см. Казак Мамай.
  10. R.P. Magocsi, A History of Ukraine σελ.179–181
  11. Iaroslav Lebedynsky, Histoire des Cosaques Ed Terre Noire σελ.38
  12. Vasili Glazkov, History of the Cossacks σελ.3, Robert Speller & Sons, Νέα Υόρκη, ISBN 0-8315-0035-2. Ο συγγραφέας επικαλείται τα στοιχεία Βυζαντινών, Ιρανών και Αράβων ιστορικών. Σύμφωνα μ’ αυτή την άποψη, από το 1261 οι Κοζάκοι ζούσαν στην περιοχή μεταξύ των ποταμών Δνείστερου και Βόλγα, όπως περιγράφεται για πρώτη φορά στα ρωσικά χρονικά.
  13. Samuel J Newland, Cossacks in the German Army, 1941–1945, Routledge (1991) ISBN 0-7146-3351-8
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