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Monday, October 24, 2016

Dmitry Karpushin: we are All hostages of lurid stereotypes and stories about clowns

“As fighters of private military companies to educate them to be the defenders of the homeland, and not mercenaries? The answer to this question in the historical experience of the Cossacks there”, – said in an interview with the newspaper LOOK the head of the Cossack expeditionary society Dmitry Karpushin. In his opinion, today the function of Cossacks took on the Chechens, but the potential of the Cossacks in the service of the country is still large.

On the first day of September on the initiative of Patriarch Kirill in Russia celebrates the Day of the Cossacks. On the eve of this festival, it was announced that by 2025 the government plans to spend 765 million rubles for the creation of a system of state-public partnership with the Russian Cossacks, with the result that their companies should increase their numbers from 180 thousand to 206 thousand people. These funds will be allocated under the state program of implementation of the national policy, the aim of which is named the harmonization of interethnic relations and strengthening the unity of the Russian nation. Considering that the financing of the Cossacks is highlighted in a special subroutine, the Cossacks in this case the state assigns a significant role.

“Caucasus respects the power and money. But understanding how to build relationships, often free all from the use of force”

In recent years, Cossack enterprises increasingly enter the focus of attention of Russian media, including in the framework of the scandalous stories. The attitude towards them in the country is ambiguous. For some, the Cossacks – moral and Patriotic landmark, while others associate them with arbitrariness and retrograde orders, and others did believe that the modern Cossacks are not true, and “mummers”.

About whether such a view, what could be the function of Cossacks in Russia today and, in particular, in the Caucasus whether the country needs private military companies and whether Russian Cossacks, the VZGLYAD newspaper spoke with the head of the Cossack expeditionary society, ethnographer Vladimir Karpushin.

OPINION: Let’s face it, who are the Cossacks? It is a profession? Bar? People? Ideological group?

Dmitry Karpushin: First of all, people. Hundreds of thousands of ethnic Cossacks by birth and origin. Speaking of Cossacks, I will keep in mind it is these people, not the notorious activists with whips and stripes from the TV. Therefore, the Cossacks, of course, people. We just have a traditional occupation, it has always been.

OPINION: the People – the warrior profession?

D. K.: let’s Say, Russia instructed the Cossack people several interrelated professional roles one way or another connected with military tradition. The Directive was designed as a tax benefit and thus acquired a class character. However, even in the laws of the Russian Empire in the early twentieth century, simple and unambiguous class definition of the Cossacks was given: mentioned “Cossack class”, and “Cossack state”, and even “the Cossack population”. Generally, the Cossack nation stands on three pillars: ethnicity, ideology, self-organization. As soon as you try to reduce to something one begins an incredible mess.

OPINION: If the Cossacks are a separate people, therefore, the assertion “the Cossacks – not Russian”?

The head of the Cossack expeditionary society Dmitry Karpushin (photo: video still)

D. K.: Yes And no. Tell me about the Cossack that he was Russian, so he starts to argue and to clarify. And tell me that he is not Russian – this is some big lie. In some respects it is difficult to find a Russian person than a Cossack. We can say that the Cossacks – a Russian in Russia. We in Russia about the same as Russia for Europe.

OPINION: IN what sense?

DK: look Here: Russian is much more committed to traditional values than the Europeans. And the Cossacks, in turn, committed to these same values more than Russian. Or perhaps ask the Russian: you Europeans? Russian answer: we are Europeans from the point of view of Asians, and close to the Europeans that we are not Asians, we just… A separate story. So with the Cossacks the same “single story”.

OPINION: So, Russian Cossacks look about the same as Europeans on the Russian?

D. K.: that’s Absolutely right. Europeans poorly understand Russian about them and invent all sorts of stereotypes – often improbable, and sometimes very unpleasant: matreshka, balalaika, bears on the Krasnaya Ploshchad. Similarly, Russian Cossacks are perceived through the prism of well-known patterns: either the sword, the whip, the pogrom.

OPINION: There is a more critical reaction. Many believe that no Cossacks now, in principle, no, that’s when the king was the real Cossacks, and now only the “mummers”.

D. K.: the Cossacks as a people to prove anything to anyone does not make sense. If speech about the Cossack organizations, they do not need to argue, and to act, to demonstrate their usefulness to the society. And just to nurture their own identity but to tell you, as we all have for the genocide of the Cossacks… What’s the point? Yes, there was a genocide, and incredibly bloody, but, you know, does not believe in tears. For example, I want my grandchildren felt themselves to be descendants of happy people.

OPINION: so you suggest to minimize dialogue Cossacks Russian majority?

D. K.: Not that I’m against the dialogue. If people are interested, why not to tell. Against what I object to is against the fruitless disputes on the subject of what the Cossacks are “real” and which are “entertainers”. That these squabbles are exactly no good. And in General, you need to understand that there are no organizations and groups that could speak for the whole Cossack nation.

SIGHT: Then it will not ask for all the people that ask for your personal opinion: what the Cossacks can be useful in modern Russia?

D. K.: Yes, in fact, what was useful pre-revolutionary Russia. The Cossacks, like other peoples of the Empire, historically distinct ethnic division of labor.

First, it is the exploration of spaces. It’s not only about the conquest. In the sparsely populated areas any traveler moving from one Cossack cordon to the other. Cossacks there were border guards, and email, and even common, accompanied by scientific expeditions. And in the case of what is today called “terrorist threat” and the counter-terrorism resource.

Second, the preservation of the masculine traditions for the whole of Russia. Cossack – the male symbol, clear and others for the whole country. Traditionally heightened attention adults Cossacks to the education of their sons, boys of warriors to their learning is generally understood to Russian custom, it is a male behavior, is respected not only in villages but also in cities, in villages, in the villages.

Thirdly, the Cossacks – a kind of “managers” inter-ethnic relations, a kind of buffer between the great and small Nations. First of all, of course, in the Caucasus, but not only. Prevention of conflicts in zones of ethnic contact is in the first place, the Cossacks.

As can be easily seen, all of the above is quite important for the modern Russia. As for inter-ethnic relations even more than important. Another thing is, are we ready for this as modern-day Cossack community.

“Ethnic Cossacks have a much more serious motivation”

OPINION: for instance, the Stavropol Krai, where conflicts between local and visiting. It is believed that there would not have prevented a strong Cossack hand…

D. K.: just do not need anyone to “disperse the Cossacks.” It’s a stereotype of bad, harmful, imposed by society (and the same Cossacks, by the way). When talking about the Caucasian wars of the XIX century, forget that the Cossacks work the results were rather peace than war. The Cossacks were clear and the highlanders, and Russian. The norms, which were followed by the Cossacks, too. As, however, and the Cossacks were Caucasian clear rules of coexistence.

One of the atamans of Southern Russia told me, as he shortly after the second Chechen campaign, was appointed head of the administration of one of the districts of Chechnya. Of course, most of his subordinates, employees of the district administration, were Chechens. He gathered them and said, “I’m not going to lie to you if I treat you as the Cossacks as their own. But I promise you all justice.” Him, our man in the Caucasus, it was clear that this is the only possible formulation of the question. If he promised that he would not differentiate between friend and foe, it would be considered either a liar, or a man shamefully forgotten its roots.

The whole time he worked fine, without incident. Didn’t have to arm Cossack hundreds or summon troops. Although, of course, an armed force behind it. As they often say in those places: the Caucasus respects the power and money. But understanding how to build relationships, often free all from using force. It is much more important for the state resource, the irregular cavalry.

OPINION: Sounds very promising. Why the authorities are not using this resource?

D. K.: the Restoration of the Cossack functions in modern terms – a rather risky job. In the sense that no one understands what algorithms to run. Therefore, no one dares to take this case seriously. Much easier chorus with an accordion to collect the lads in stripes to virality, maiden Rouge my cheeks and for a fair release. Risks low. Well, the Cossacks in the auxiliary record. Cossack brigade in the village, this is normal, people help where they live. But in the capitals, in my memory, since 1990 Cossack patrols ended zilch.

To sovereign’s people to work with the Cossacks, they need a good understanding of possible career, sorry, win. And since we are all Cossacks, Russians, Russians, hostages cheap popular stereotypes and idiotic stories about clowns in stripes, winning the officials did not see. After the winning in the categories of odnomodovogo and fairground booths is not described and the officials are simply unknown, though possible.

VIEW: You believe that the situation may change and the Cossacks will again be claimed by the state in the real case?

D. K.: there’s no need to sit and wait, while you will claim. To explain the state the benefit of the Cossacks is the task of the Cossacks. If existing organizations can not cope with this task, so it is inefficient. Because historically, the Cossacks formed only because it was the need of the state. It was a kind of “state order”. This “state order” has not disappeared, it is still relevant. But yet an effective offer for this assignment came not from the Cossacks, but quite from other people.

LOOK: You mean someone in particular?

DK: Quite specific. This idea is a little like me, but, in my opinion, today the historical function of the Cossacks took on the Chechens. Do not undertake to give it any ratings, just stating.

OPINION: an Unexpected turn.

D. K.: And you look impartially. In fact, today the Cossack vacant niche partially filled Chechen units. Their similarities with the Cossack role not only in ethnic homogeneity, the Patriotic principle of recruitment and adherence to traditional values. There is an intersection and on the geopolitical, not afraid of the word, level.

In the early 1990s I had the opportunity to interview with a foreign journalist who came to Russia to write great stuff about the revival of the Cossacks. After two months of research, she in his article gave the Cossacks a definition of “System of militarized clans, guarding the southern borders of Russia on the basis of a tax deal with the tsarist government.” To an outside observer is inherent in the exact look. Replace in this formula the clans on the “clans”, remember the famous “God gives” and you will get the real picture of today. Is this bad? If the boundary of the castle and hostile emissaries through it does not leak, that is good.

OPINION: However, the Cossacks are unlikely to just agree to cede its historical role. As we have seen, the desire to regain its position there. But are there any specific ideas or suggestions? Where to start?

DK: to Begin with a purposeful and thoughtful “pilot projects”, are small in scale and narrow in content. If successful, this experience can be replicated. For example, are now arguing about whether Russia private military companies. During the chief of police, whose squad was represented by a private military company that operated in the interests of the state, this question was not. Another thing is that to Cossack PMC still needs to grow, and it’s not just the training, discipline and loyalty to the state. Should be clearly defined: as PMC soldiers to raise, so they, too, were the defenders of the homeland, and not mercenaries? The answer to this question in the historical experience of the Cossacks is, just do not be distracted by the plumes, talk about the Cossack will and other exotics. Experience this high-tech and therefore of little interest to the layman, and the specificity of it is that it can be used only by the state. And such narrow tasks, including those not necessarily of a military nature, Cossacks can be a list: in inter-ethnic sphere, in questions of work with young people. But it is important not to put a sign of equality between the Cossacks and the club of fans of the Cossacks.

How do you draw that line?

DK: along ethnic lines. Go back to the beginning of the conversation: the Cossacks – a people or an ideology? The state now inclines to the second one, forgetting about the first. Meanwhile, the ethnic Cossacks have a much more serious motivation for the aforementioned tasks. Of course, this does not mean that Cossack service – private club and entrance there. Normal people are happy associates, and Cossacks is no exception. But if we are talking about the “pilot projects”, to start them reasonably, based on ethnic, “natural” Cossacks. Because for them it is not a hobby, not ideological passion. They can’t “change your mind” to be Cossacks. They were born, they will die.


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