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Cossacks (Ukrainian: козаки́, kozaky; Russian: казаки, kazaki), are a group of predominantly East Slavic people who originally were members of democratic, semi-military and semi-naval communities in Ukraine and Southern Russia. They inhabited sparsely populated areas and islands in the lower Dnieper, Don, Terek, Ural basins, and played an important role in the historical development of both Ukraine and Russia. Today self-identification "Cossack" is an important part of cultural heritage of people in modern Ukraine, Southern Russia, Volga, Ural, Siberian regions and the Russian Far East. Cossack societies exist throughout Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and worldwide.
The origins of the first Cossacks are disputed, though the Constitution of Pylyp Orlyk claimed Khazar origin of Cossacks. ”The traditional post-imperial historiography dates the emergence of Cossacks to the 14th or to 15th centuries when two connected groups emerged, the Zaporozhian Sich of the Dnieper and the Don Cossack Host. The Zaporozhian Sich was initially a vassal of Poland-Lithuania. The increasing social and religious pressure from the Commonwealth caused them to proclaim an independent Cossack Hetmanate, initiated by a rebellion under Bohdan Khmelnytsky in the mid-17th century. Afterwards, the Treaty of Pereyaslav brought most of the Ukrainian Cossack state under Russian rule. But the Sich itself with its lands became an autonomous region, under the Russian-Polish protectorate. The Don Cossack Host, which had been established by the 16th century, allied itself with the Tsardom of Russia. Together they began a systematic conquest and colonisation of lands in order to secure the borders on the Volga, the whole of Siberia (see Yermak Timofeyevich), the Yaik and the Terek Rivers, the two latter rivers having had their own Cossack communities as well before the arrival of Don Cossacks.
By the 18th century, Cossack hosts in the Russian Empire served as buffer zones on its borders. However, the expansionist ambitions of the empire relied on ensuring the loyalty of Cossacks, which caused tension with their traditional freedom, democratic self-rule, and independence. As a result, Cossacks, such as Ivan Bolotnikov, Stenka Razin, Kondraty Bulavin and Yemelyan Pugachev, have lead major anti-imperial wars and revolutions in the Empire in order to abolish slavery and odious bureaucracy. In extreme cases, the Empire responded by dissolving whole Hosts, as was the fate of the Zaporozhian Sich and of its "Nizovy" (Lower Dnieper) Zaporozhian Host in 1775, and of Malorossian Cossack regiments later. The Yaik Host, its capital, Yaik Cossaks and Zimoveyskaya Cossack town in the Don region were renamed after the Pugachev rebellion to have Cossacks put a lid and forget Razin and Pugachev and their rebellions.
By the end of the 18th century, Cossack nations were transformed into a special military estate (Sosloviye), "a military class". They like medieval knights were to come to the military service with their own expensive knight horse and own arms and supplies at their own expense, for exception of firearms and supplies to them, provided by the government, and Cossack service was the most hard one. Because of their military tradition, Cossack forces played an important role in Russia’s wars of the 18th - 20th centuries such as the Great Northern War, the Seven Years' War, the Crimean War, Napoleonic Wars, Caucasus War, numerous Russo-Turkish Wars, and the First World War. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Tsarist regime employed them extensively to perform police service (for example both to prevent pogroms and to suppress the revolutionary movement, especially in 1905–7.) They also served as border guards on national and internal ethnic borders (as was the case in the Caucasus War).
During the Russian Civil War, Don and Kuban Cossacks have been the first nations to declare open war against the Bolsheviks. By 1918, Cossacks declared the complete independence of their nations and formed the independent states, the Ukrainian State, the Don Republic, and the Kuban People's Republic. The Cossack troops formed the effective core of the anti-Bolshevik White Army, and Cossack republics became centers for the Anti-Bolshevik White movement. With the victory of the Red Army, the Cossack lands were subjected to Decossackization and the man-made famine of 1932-33 (Holodomor). After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Cossacks have made a systematic return to Russia. Many took an active part in Post-Soviet conflicts and Yugoslav wars. In Russia's 2010 Population Census, Cossacks have been recognized as an ethnicity. There are Cossack organizations in Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Poland and the USA.
In written sources the name first attested in Codex Cumanicus from the 13th century. The English word is attested from 1590, an Irish surname Cossack has existed since 12th century. The ethnonym Kazakh is from the same Turkic root.
Early history 
It is not clear when new Slavic people apart from Brodnici and Berladniki started settling in the lower reaches of major rivers such as the Don and the Dnieper after the demise of the Khazar state. It is unlikely it could have happened before the 13th century, when the Mongols broke the power of the Cumans, which had assimilated the previous population on that territory. It is known that new settlers inherited a lifestyle that persisted there long before, such as those of the Turkic Cumans and the Circassian Kassaks. However, Slavic settlements in Southern Ukraine started to appear relatively early during the Cuman rule, with the earliest ones, like Tsiurupynsk, dating back to 11th century.
Early "Proto-Cossack" groups are generally reported to have come into existence within the present-day Ukraine in the mid-13th century as the influence of Cumans grew weak, though some have ascribed their origins to as early as the tenth century. Some historians suggest that the Cossack people were of mixed ethnic origins, descending from Russians, Ukrainians, Poles, Turks, Tatars, and others who settled or passed through the vast Steppe. However some Turkologists argue that Cossacks are descendants of native Cumans of Ukraine, who lived there long ago before the Mongol invasion.
In the midst of the growing Moscow and Lithuanian powers, new political entities had appeared in the region such as Moldavia and the Crimean Khanate. In 1261 some Slavic people living in the area between the Dniester and the Volga were mentioned in Ruthenian chronicles. Historical records of the Cossacks before the 16th century are scant as the history of the Ukrainian lands in that period for various reasons.
In the 15th century, the Cossack society was described as a loose federation of independent communities, often forming local armies, entirely independent from the neighbouring states (of, e.g., Poland, the Grand Duchy of Moscow or the Khanate of Crimea). According to Hrushevsky the first mention of Cossacks could be found already in the 14th century; however, they were either of Turkic or of undefined origin. Hrushevsky states that Cossacks could have descended from the long forgotten Antes, or groups from the Berlad territory in present-day Romania, then a part of the Grand Duchy of Halych, Brodniki. There, Cossacks may have served as self-defense formations, organized to defend against raids conducted by neighbors. By 1492, the Crimean Khan complained that Kanev and Cherkasy Cossacks attacked his ship near Tighina (Bender), and the Grand Duke of Lithuania Alexander I promised to find the guilty among the Cossacks. Sometime in the beginning of 16th century there appeared the old Ukrainian Ballad of Cossack Holota about a Cossack near Kiliya.
By the 16th century these Cossack societies merged into two independent territorial organisations as well as other smaller, still detached groups:
- The Cossacks of Zaporizhia, centered on the lower bends of Dnieper, inside the territory of modern Ukraine, with the fortified capital of Zaporozhian Sich. They were formally recognised as an independent state, the Zaporozhian Host, by a treaty with Poland in 1649.
- The Don Cossack State, on the river Don, separated from the Grand Duchy of Moscow by the Nogai states, vassals of the Ottoman Empire. The capital of the Don Cossack State was initially Razdory, then moved to Cherkassk, later moved to Novocherkassk.
n addition to these two, one finds mention of the less well-known Tatar Cossacks such as Nağaybäklär and Meschera (mishari) Cossacks, of whom Sary Azman was the first Don ataman and which not only were assimilated by Don Cossacks, but had their own irregular Bashkir and Meschera Host up to the end of the 19th century. Kalmyk and Buryat Cossacks should be mentioned as well. The Gypsy Cossacks are the least known ones now.
Ukrainian Cossacks 
Zaporozhian Cossacks 
The Zaporozhian Cossacks, who lived on the steppes of Ukraine below the Dnieper rapids ("za porogami" in Russian and Ukrainian), became a well-known group. Cossack numbers increased greatly between the 15th and 17th centuries. Cossacks were usually organized by Russian (Ruthenian) boyar or prince nobility, especially being various Lithuanian starostas. Merchants, peasants and runaways from the Poland-Lithuania Commonwealth, Moscow state and modern Moldova and Romania joined Cossacks. The first recorded Zaporizhian Host prototype was formed when the cousin of Ivan the Terrible Dmytro Vyshnevetsky built a fortress on the island of Little Khortytsia on the banks of the Lower Dnieper in 1552. Zaporozhian Host mixed the ancient Cossack order and habits with that of the Knights Hospitaller. The Zaporozhian Cossacks played an important role in European geopolitics, participating in a series of conflicts and alliances with the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Russia, and the Ottoman Empire. As a result of the Khmelnytsky Uprising in the middle of the 17th century the Zaporozhian Cossacks managed to briefly create an independent state, which later became the autonomous Cossack Hetmanate (1649-1764), a suzerainty under protection of the Russian Tsar from 1667 but ruled by the local Hetmans for a century. But the Zaporozhian Sich had its own authorities, its own "Nizovy" Zaporozhsky Host and its own land. In the later half of the 18th century Russian authorities destroyed this Zaporozhian Host and gave its lands to landlords. Some Cossacks responded by movement to the Danube delta region and created Danubian Sich under the Ottoman rule. To prevent the further defection of Cossacks the Russian government had restored the Cossack status of the majority of Zaporozhian Cossacks, had allowed them to unite into the Host of Loyal Zaporozhians and later had organized them into other hosts, the Black Sea host being the most important. The latter moved to the Kuban region because of Zaporozhian Sich lands distribution among landlords and resulting land scarcity. The majority of Danubian Sich Cossacks had moved first to the Azov region in 1828 and later joined other former Zaporozhian Cossacks in the Kuban region. Although Kuban Cossacks of Zaporozhian origin and their descendants had not considered themselves Ukrainians by ethicity; rather they called themselves Rus'kye (which is translated as Russians in Russian and was translated as Ruthenians in German in the 19th century only), most descendants of Zaporozhian Cossacks in the Kuban region are bilingual and speak both Russian and the local Kuban dialect of central Ukrainian and have a largely Ukrainian folklore. A lot of Ukrainians moved to the Kuban region as well.
The Zaporozhians gained a reputation for their raids against the Ottoman Empire and its vassals, although they sometimes plundered other neighbors as well. Their actions increased tension along the southern border of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, which resulted in almost constant low-level warfare taking place in those territories for almost the entire existence of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (1569–1795).
After the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent asked him in 1539 to restrain the Cossacks, Grand Duke Vasili III of Russia replied: "The Cossacks do not swear allegiance to me, and they live as they themselves please." In 1549 Tsar Ivan the Terrible replied to a request from Suleiman to stop the attacks of the Don Cossacks, stating, "The Cossacks of the Don are not my subjects, and they go to war or live in peace without my knowledge." Similar exchanges passed between Russia, the Ottoman Empire and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, each of which tried to exploit Cossack warmongering for its own purposes. In the 16th century, with the power of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth extending south, the Zaporozhian Cossacks were mostly, if tentatively, regarded by the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth as their subjects. Registered Cossacks formed a part of the Commonwealth army until 1699.
Around the end of the 16th century, relations between the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Ottoman Empire, not cordial to begin with, were further strained by increasing Cossack aggression. From the second part of the 16th century, Cossacks started raiding Ottoman territories. The Polish government could not control the fiercely independent Cossacks, but since they were nominally subjects of the Commonwealth, it was held responsible for the raids by their victims. Reciprocally, the Tatars living under Ottoman rule launched raids into the Commonwealth, mostly in the sparsely inhabited southeast territories. Cossack pirates, however, started raiding wealthy trading port-cities in the heart of the Ottoman Empire, which were just two days away by boat from the mouth of the Dnieper River. By 1615 and 1625, Cossacks had even managed to raze townships on the outskirts of Constantinople, forcing the Ottoman Sultan to flee his palace. Consecutive treaties between the Ottoman Empire and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth called for both parties to keep the Cossacks and Tatars in check, but enforcement was almost non-existent on both sides. In internal agreements, forced by the Polish side, Cossacks agreed to burn their boats and stop raiding. However, boats could be rebuilt quickly, and the Cossack lifestyle glorified raids and booty. During this time, the Habsburg Empire sometimes covertly employed Cossack raiders to ease Ottoman pressure on their own borders. Many Cossacks and Tatars shared an animosity towards each other due to the damage done by raids from both sides. Cossack raids followed by Tatar retaliation, or Tatar raids followed by Cossack retaliation, were an almost regular occurrence. The ensuing chaos and string of retaliations often turned the entire southeastern Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth border into a low-intensity war zone and led to escalation of Commonwealth-Ottoman warfare, from the Moldavian Magnate Wars (1593-1617) to the Battle of Cecora (1620) and campaigns in the Polish-Ottoman War of 1633–1634.
Cossack numbers expanded with peasants escaping serfdom in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Attempts by the szlachta to turn the Zaporozhian Cossacks into serfs eroded the Cossacks' once fairly strong loyalty towards the Commonwealth. Cossack ambitions for recognition as equal to the szlachta were constantly rebuffed, and plans for transforming the Polish-Lithuanian (They meant first of all present Belorussians as Lithuanians) Two-Nations Commonwealth into Polish-Lithuanian-Russian Commonwealth (Three Nations with Russian Cossacks equal to Russian szlahta) made little progress due to the Cossacks' unpopularity among first of all Russian szlahta. The Cossacks' strong historic allegiance to the Eastern Orthodox Christianity put them at odds with the Roman Catholic-dominated Commonwealth. Tensions increased when Commonwealth policies turned from relative tolerance to suppression of the Orthodox Catholic church after the Union of Brest, making the Cossacks strongly anti-Roman, which in context became synonymous with anti-Polish.
Registered Cossacks 
The waning loyalty of the Cossacks and the szlachta's arrogance towards them resulted in several Cossack uprisings against the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in the early 17th century. Finally, the King's adamant refusal to cede to the Cossacks' demand to expand the Cossack Registry was the last straw that prompted the largest and most successful of these: the Khmelnytsky uprising that started in 1648. Some Cossacks, including Polish schlahta of the Ukraine (they were called Ukrainians), converted to Orthodox Catholics, divided the lands of Russian szlahta in the Ukraine, and became the Cossack szlahta. The uprising became one of a series of catastrophic events for the Commonwealth known as The Deluge, which greatly weakened the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and set the stage for its disintegration 100 years later.
The influential relatives of Russian and Lithuanian schlahta in Moscow helped to create the Russian-Polish alliance against Khmelnitsky's Cossacks as rebels against any order and the private property of Russian Orthodox Catholic schlahta, Don Cossack raids on Crimea leaving Khmelnitsky without the aid of his usual Tatar allies. But in Russian opinion the rebellion ended with the 1654 Treaty of Pereyaslav in which Khmelnitsky's Cossacks so that to destroy the Russian-Polish alliance against them pledged their loyalty to the Russian Tsar with the latter guaranteeing Cossacks his protection, recognition of Cossack starshyna (nobility) and their property and autonomy under his rule, freeing the Cossacks from the Polish sphere of influence and land claims of Russian schlahta. Only some part of the Russian schlahta of the Chernigov region, being of the Moscow state origin, saved their lands from division among Cossacks and became the part of the Cossack schlahta. After this Russian schlahta refrained from its plans to have a Moscow tsar the king of the Commonwealth, its own Michał Korybut Wiśniowiecki became the king later. The last, ultimately unsuccessful, attempt to rebuild the Polish-Cossack alliance and create a Polish-Lithuanian-Ruthenian Commonwealth was the 1658 Treaty of Hadiach, which was approved by the Polish King and Sejm as well as by some of the Cossack starshyna, including Hetman Ivan Vyhovsky. The starshyna were, however, divided on the issue and the treaty had even less support among rank-and-file Cossacks; thus it failed.
Under Russian rule the Cossack nation of the Zaporozhian Host was divided into two autonomous republics of the Moscow Tsardom: the Cossack Hetmanate, and the more independent Zaporizhia. These organisations gradually lost their autonomy, and were abolished by Catherine II by the late 18th century. The Hetmanate became the governorship of Little Russia, and Zaporizhia was absorbed into New Russia.
In 1775 the Zaporozhian Host was destroyed. Later its high-ranking Cossack leaders were exiled to Siberia, the last chief becoming the prisoner of the Solovetsky Islands, for the establishment of a new Sich in the Ottoman empire by the part of Cossacks without any involvement of the punished Cossack leaders.
Black Sea, Azov and Danubian Sich Cossacks 
With the destruction of the Zaporozhian Sich, many Zaporozhian Cossacks, especially the vast majority of Old Believers and other people from the Greater Russia, defected to Turkey and settled in the area of the Danube river, founding a new Sich there. Part of these Cossacks settled on Tisa river in Austrian empire to have a new Sich there as well. Some Ukrainian-speaking Orthodox Catholic Cossacks however ran away across the Danube (territory under the control of the Ottoman Empire) together with Cossacks of the Greater Russia origin to form a new host before rejoining the others in the Kuban. And a lot of Ukrainian peasants and adventurers joined the Danubian Sich afterwards. Ukrainian folklore remembers the Danubian Sich, while new siches of Loyal Zaporozhians on Bug and Dniester are not famous ones. The majority of Tisa Sich and Danubian Sich Cossacks returned to Russia in 1828 and settled in the area north of the Azov Sea and became known as the Azov cossacks. But the majority of Zaporozhian Cossacks, especially Ukrainian-speaking Orthodox Catholics, remained loyal to Russia in spite of the Sich destruction and became known as the Black Sea cossacks. Both Azov and Black Sea Cossacks were resettled to colonise the Kuban steppe which was a crucial foothold for Russian expansion in the Caucasus.
During Cossack stay in Turkey, a new host was founded which by the end of 1778 numbered around 12,000 Cossacks. Their settlement at the border with Russia was approved by the Ottoman Empire after the Cossacks officially vowed to serve the Sultan. Yet the conflict inside the new host of the new loyalty, and the political manoeuvres used by the Russian Empire, led to splits in the Cossacks. After a portion of the runaway Cossacks returned to Russia they were used by the Russian army to form new military bodies that also incorporated Greek Albanians, Crimean Tatars and Gypsies. However after the Russo-Turkish war of 1787–1792, most of them were incorporated into the Black Sea Cossack Host together with Loyal Zaporozhians. The Black Sea Host moved to the Kuban steppes. Most of the remaining Cossacks that stayed in the Danube delta returned to Russia in 1828 and created the Azov Cossack Host between Berdyansk and Mariupol. In 1860 all of them were resettled to the North Caucasus and merged into the Kuban Cossack Host.
Russian Cossacks 
The native land of the Cossacks is defined by a line of Russian/Ruthenian town-fortresses located on the border with the steppe and stretching from the middle Volga to Ryazan and Tula, then breaking abruptly to the south and extending to the Dnieper via Pereyaslavl. This area was settled by a population of free people practicing various trades and crafts.
These people, constantly facing the Tatar warriors on the steppe frontier, received the Turkic name Cossacks (Kazaks), which was then extended to other free people in Russia. Many Cumans, who had assimilated Khazars, retreated to the Ryazan Grand principality (Grand Duchy) after the Mongol invasion, green eyes and straw hair appearing among Russians due to Cuman assimilation by Russians. The oldest reference in the annals mentions Cossacks of the Russian principality of Ryazan serving the principality in the battle against the Tatars in 1444. In the 16th century, the Cossacks (primarily those of Ryazan) were grouped in military and trading communities on the open steppe and started to migrate into the area of the Don (source Vasily Klyuchevsky, The course of the Russian History, vol.2).
Cossacks served as border guards and protectors of towns, forts, settlements and trading posts, performed policing functions on the frontiers and also came to represent an integral part of the Russian army. In the 16th century, to protect the borderland area from Tatar invasions, Cossacks carried out sentry and patrol duties, guarding from Crimean Tatars and nomads of the Nogai Horde in the steppe region.
Russian Cossacks played a key role in the expansion of the Russian Empire into Siberia (particularly by Yermak Timofeyevich), the Caucasus and Central Asia in the period from the 16th to 19th centuries. Cossacks also served as guides to most Russian expeditions formed by civil and military geographers and surveyors, traders and explorers. In 1648 the Russian Cossack Semyon Dezhnyov discovered a passage between North America and Asia. Cossack units played a role in many wars in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries (such as the Russo-Turkish Wars, the Russo-Persian Wars, and the annexation of Central Asia).
Cossacks were the popular subjects of European scientific dissertations, speaking eight different languages and having a common language with almost any current European researcher of Cossacks Stenka Razin being the most favorite subject. Western Europeans had a lot of contacts with Cossacks during the Seven Year's War and had seen Cossack patrols in Berlin. During Napoleon's Invasion of Russia, Cossacks were the Russian soldiers most feared by the French troops. Napoleon himself stated "Cossacks are the best light troops among all that exist. If I had them in my army, I would go through all the world with them." Cossacks also took part in the partisan war deep inside French-occupied Russian territory, attacking communications and supply lines. These attacks, carried out by Cossacks along with Russian light cavalry and other units, were one of the first developments of guerrilla warfare tactics and, to some extent, special operations as we know them today.
Frenchmen had had few contacts with Cossacks before the Allies occupied Paris in 1814. As the most exotic of the Russian troops seen in France, Cossacks drew a great deal of attention and notoriety for their alleged purity during Napoleon's wars. Bistrots appeared after the Cossack occupation of Paris. Stendhal had, that "Cossacks were pure as children and great as Gods".
Don Cossacks 
The Don Cossack Host (Russian: Всевеликое Войско Донское, Vsevelikoye Voysko Donskoye) was either an independent or an autonomous democratic republic in the present day Southern Russia from the end of the 16th until the early 20th century. Don Cossacks had a rich military tradition, playing an important part in the historical development of the Russian Empire and successfully participating in all of its major wars.
The exact origins of Don Cossacks are unknown. In modern view, Don Cossacks are descendants of both Slavic people and Khazars, which assimilated Slavs, Goths, Alans, and possibly of Rugii, Roxolans, Alans and even Goths-Alans of the Black Sea Rus New Slavic people have come from Dnepr and Taman, and from Novgorod Republic and Principality of Ryazan, both before and after their violent occupation and subjugation by the Muscovite Tsardom.
The majority of Don Cossacks are either Orthodox Christians or Christian Old Believers(старообрядцы); and prior to Caucasus war, there were numerous religious minorities, including Muslims, Subbotniks, and others.
Kuban Cossacks 
Kuban Cossacks are Cossacks who live in the Kuban region of Russia. Although numerous Cossack groups came to inhabit the Western Northern Caucasus most of the Kuban Cossacks are descendants of the Black Sea Cossack Host, (originally the Zaporozhian Cossacks) and the Caucasus Line Cossack Host.
A distinguishing feature from other Russian Cossacks is the Chupryna or Oseledets hairstyle, a roach haircut popular among some Kubanians. This is due to their traditional roots, going back to the Zaporizhian Sich.
Terek Cossacks 
The Terek Cossack Host was a Cossack host created in 1577 from free Cossacks who resettled from the Volga to the Terek River. In 1792 it was included in the Caucasus Line Cossack Host and separated from it again in 1860, with the capital of Vladikavkaz. In 1916 the population of the Host was 255,000 within an area of 1.9 million desyatinas. Many of the early members of the Terek Cossacks were Ossetians.
Yaik Cossacks 
The Ural Cossack Host was a cossack host formed from the Ural Cossacks, cossacks settled by the Ural River. Their alternative name, Yaik Cossacks, comes from the old name of the river changed after the Pugachev's rebellion. The Ural Cossacks although speaking Russian and identifying themselves as being of primarily Russian ancestry also incorporated many Tatars into their ranks. Twenty years after the conquest of the Volga from Kazan to Astrakhan, in 1577, Moscow sent troops to disperse pirates and raiders along the Volga (one of their number was Ermak). Some of these fled southeast to the Ural River and joined Yaik Cossacks. In 1580 they captured Saraichik. By 1591 they were fighting for Moscow. Sometime in the next century they were officially recognized.
In the Russian Empire 
From the start, relations of Cossacks with the Tsardom of Russia were very much varied; at times this involved combined military operations, and at others there were famous Cossack uprisings. One particular example was the destruction of the Zaporozhian Host, which took place at the end of the 18th century. The divisions of the Cossacks within were clearly visible between those that chose to stay loyal to the Russian Monarch and continue their service (who later moved to the Kuban) and those that chose to continue their pro-mercenary role and ran off the Danube delta.
Nevertheless by the 19th century, the Russian Empire managed to fully annex all the control over the hosts and instead rewarded the Cossacks with privileges for their service. At this time the Cossacks were actively participating in many Russian wars. Although Cossack tactics in open battles were generally inferior to those of regular soldiers such as the Dragoons, Cossacks were nevertheless excellent for scouting and reconnaissance duties, as well as undertaking ambushes. In 1840 the hosts included the Don, Black Sea, Astrakhan, Little Russia, Azov, Danube, Ural, Stavropol, Mesherya, Orenburg, Siberia, Tobolsk, Tomsk, Yeniseisk, Irkutsk, Sabaikal, Yakutsk and Tartar voiskos. By 1890s the Ussuri, Semirechensk and Amur Cossacks were added, with the last having a regiment of elite mounted rifles.
The Cossack sense of being a separate and elite community gave them a strong sense of loyalty to the Tsarist government and Cossack units were frequently used to suppress domestic disorder, especially during the Russian Revolution of 1905. The Imperial Government depended heavily on the perceived reliability of the Cossacks, although by the early 20th century their separate communities and semi-feudal military service were increasingly perceived being seen as obsolete. In strictly military terms the Cossacks were not highly regarded by the Russian Army Command, who saw them as less well disciplined, trained and mounted than the hussars, dragoons and lancers of the regular cavalry. The Cossack qualities of initiative and rough-riding skills were not always fully appreciated. As a result, Cossack units were frequently broken up into small detachments for use as scouts, messengers or picturesque escorts.
During the February Revolution of 1917, the Cossacks appear to have shared the general disillusionment with Tsarist leadership, and the Cossack regiments in Saint Petersburg joined the uprising. While only a few units were involved, their defection (and that of the Konvoi) came as a stunning psychological blow to the Government of Nicholas II and sped his abdication.
At the end of the 19th century, the Cossack communities enjoyed a privileged tax-free status in the Russian Empire, although having a military service commitment of twenty years (reduced to eighteen years from 1909). Only five years had to be spent in full-time service, the remainder of the commitment being spent with the reserves. In the beginning of the 20th century Russian Cossacks counted 4.5 million and were organised into separate regional Hosts, each comprising a number of regiments.
Razin and Pugachev Rebellions 
The Cossacks, as an autonomous group, had to defend their liberties and traditions against the ever-expanding Russian government. The Cossacks tended to act independently of the central government, increasing friction between the two. The government’s power began to grow in 1613 with Mikhail Romanov's ascension to the throne after the Time of Troubles, when dynastic conflicts constantly presented themselves and inconsistency reigned with the lack of a single, competent ruler. The government began attempting to assimilate the Cossacks into the Russian culture and political system by granting elite status and enforcing military service, thus creating divisions within the Cossacks themselves as they fought to keep their own traditions alive. The government’s efforts to alter the traditional nomadic lifestyle of the Cossacks caused the Cossacks to be involved in nearly all the major disturbances in Russia over a 200-year period, including the rebellions led by Stenka Razin and Emilian Pugachev.
As Muscovy regained stability under Mikhail Romanov after the Time of Troubles beginning in 1613, discontent steadily grew within the serf and peasant populations. The Code of 1649 under Alexis Romanov, Mikhail’s son, divided the Russian population into distinct and fixed hereditary categories. This law tied peasants to the land and forced townsmen to take on their fathers’ occupations. The Code of 1649 increased tax revenue for the central government and stopped wandering to stabilize the social order by fixing people in the same land with the same occupation of their families. The increased taxes fell mainly on the peasants as a burden and continued to widen the gap between the wealthy and the poor. As the government developed more military expeditions, human and material resources became limited, putting an even harsher strain on the peasants. War with Poland and Sweden in 1662 led to a fiscal crisis and riots across the country. Taxes, harsh conditions, and the gap between social classes drove peasants and serfs to flee, many of them going to the Cossacks, knowing that the Cossacks would accept refugees and free them.
The Cossacks experienced difficulties under Tsar Alexis as the influx of refugees grew daily. The Cossacks received a subsidy of food, money, and military supplies from the tsar in return for acting as border defense. These subsidies fluctuated often and provided a source of conflict between the Cossacks and the government. The war with Poland diverted necessary food and military shipments to the Cossacks as the population of the Host, the unit of Cossacks identified by the region in which they resided, grew with the fugitive peasants. The influx of these refugees troubled the Cossacks not only because of the increased demand for food but also because the large number of these fugitives meant the Cossacks could not absorb them into their culture through the traditional apprenticeship way. Instead of taking these steps of proper assimilation into Cossack society, the runaway peasants spontaneously declared themselves Cossacks and lived beside true Cossacks, laboring or working as barge-haulers to earn food.
As conditions worsened and Mikhail’s son Alexis took the throne, divisions among the Cossacks began to emerge. Older Cossacks began to settle and become prosperous, enjoying the privileges they earned through obeying and assisting the Muscovite system. The old Cossacks started giving up their traditions and liberties that had been worth dying for to obtain the pleasures of an elite life. The lawless and restless runaway peasants that called themselves Cossacks looked for adventure and revenge against the nobility that had caused them suffering. These Cossacks did not receive the government subsidies that the old Cossacks enjoyed and thus had to work harder and longer for food and money. These divisions between the elite and lawless would lead to the formation of a Cossack army beginning in 1667 under Stenka Razin as well as to the ultimate failure of that rebellion.
Stenka Razin was born into an elite Cossack family and had made many diplomatic visits to Moscow before organizing his rebellion. The Cossacks were Razin’s main supporters and followed him during his first Persian campaign in 1667, plundering and pillaging Persian cities on the Caspian Sea. They returned ill and hungry, tired from fighting but rich with plundered goods in 1669. Muscovy tried to gain support from the old Cossacks, asking the ataman, or Cossack chieftain, to prevent Razin from following through with his plans. However the ataman, being Razin’s godfather and swayed by Razin’s promise of a share of the wealth from Razin’s expeditions, replied that the elite Cossacks were powerless against the band of rebels. The elite did not see much threat from Razin and his followers either, although they realized he could cause them problems with the Muscovite system if his following developed into a rebellion against the central government.
Razin and his followers began to capture cities at the start of the rebellion in 1669. They seized the towns of Tsaritsyn, Astrakhan, Saratov, and Samara, implementing democratic rule and releasing peasants from slavery as they went. Razin envisioned a united Cossack republic throughout the southern steppe in which the towns and villages of the area would operate under the democratic, Cossack style of government. These sieges often took place in the runaway peasant Cossacks’ old towns, leading them to wreak havoc on their old masters and get the revenge for which they were hoping. The rebels’ advancement began to be seen as a problem to the elder Cossacks, who, in 1671, decided to comply with the government in order to receive more subsidies. On April 14, ataman Yakovlev led elders to destroy the rebel camp and captured Razin, taking him soon afterward to Moscow.
Razin’s rebellion marked the beginning of the end to traditional Cossack practices. In August 1671, Muscovite envoys administered the oath of allegiance and the Cossacks swore loyalty to the tsar. While they still had internal autonomy, the Cossacks became Muscovite subjects, a transition that would prove to be a dividing point yet again in Pugachev’s rebellion.
For the Cossack elite, a noble status within the empire came at the price of their old liberties in the 18th century. An advancement of agricultural settlement began forcing the Cossacks to give up their traditional nomadic ways and to adopt new forms of government. The government steadily changed the entire culture of the Cossacks. Peter the Great increased service obligations for the Cossacks and mobilized their forces to fight in far-off wars. Peter began establishing non-Cossack troops in fortresses along the Iaik River and in 1734 constructed Orenburg, a fortress of government power on the frontier that gave Cossacks a subordinate role in border defense. When the Iaik Cossacks sent a delegation to Peter to explain their grievances, Peter stripped the Cossacks of their autonomous status and subordinated them to the War College rather than the College of Foreign Affairs, solidifying the change in the Cossacks from border patrol to military servicemen. Over the next fifty years, the central government responded to Cossack grievances with arrests, floggings, and exiles. Among the ordinary Cossacks, hatred of the elite and central government boiled and by 1772, an open state of rebellion ensued for six months between the Iaik Cossacks and the central government.
Under Catherine the Great in 1762, the Russian peasants and Cossacks once again faced increased taxation, heavy military conscription, and grain shortages that had characterized the land before Razin’s rebellion. In addition, Catherine II annulled one of Peter III’s acts, an act interpreted to mean that economy peasants, or serfs living on church lands, were free from their obligations and payments to church authorities. In 1767, the empress refused to accept grievances directly from the peasantry. Peasants fled once again to the land of the Cossacks; in particular, the fugitive peasants set their destination for the Iaik Host, whose people were committed to the old Cossack traditions. The changing government burdened the Cossacks as well, extending its reach to reform the Cossack traditions.
Emelian Pugachev, a low-status Don Cossack, arrived in the Iaik Host in late 1772. Pugachev’s claim to be Peter III stemmed from the expectations the Cossacks held for the late ruler, believing that Peter III would have been an effective ruler after signing an alliance with Frederick the Great of Prussia, had he not been assassinated by a plot of his wife Catherine II. Many Iaik Cossacks believed Pugachev’s claim, though those closest to him knew the truth. Others that may have known the truth but did not support Catherine II, due to her disposal of Peter III, still spread Pugachev’s claim to be the late emperor.
The first of the three phases of Pugachev’s rebellion began in September 1773. The elite-supporting Cossacks constituted the majority of the first prisoners taken by the rebels. After a five-month siege of Orenburg, a Military College became Pugachev’s headquarters. Pugachev began envisioning a Cossack tsardom, similar to Razin’s vision of a united Cossack republic. The peasantry across Russia stirred with rumors and listened to manifestos issued by Pugachev. However, Pugachev’s rebellion soon became to be seen as an inevitable failure. The Don Cossacks refused to help the rebellion in the last phase of the revolt because they knew military troops followed Pugachev closely after lifting the siege of Orenburg and following Pugachev’s flight from defeated Kazan. In September, 1774, Pugachev’s own Cossack lieutenants turned him over to the government troops.
The Cossacks’ opposition to modernization and institutionalization of political authority led them to participate in Pugachev’s rebellion. One of their last hopes to defy the increasing political authority threatening the traditional Cossack life failed. The Cossack elite, hoping to obtain noble statues, accepted the government’s reforms and the ordinary Cossacks had no choice but to give up their traditions and liberties.
Civil War, Decossackization, and Holodomor of 1932-33 
In the Russian Civil War that followed the October Revolution, the Cossacks found themselves on both sides of the conflict. Cossacks formed the core of the White Army, but many of them also fought for the Red Army. Some Cossack units in the Ukraininan service not relevant to the military estate of Cossacks have participated in pogroms against Jews in Ukraine Following the defeat of the White Army, a policy of Decossackization (Raskazachivaniye) took place on the surviving Cossacks and their homelands since they were viewed as potential threat to the new regime. University of York Russian specialist Shane O'Rourke states that "ten thousand Cossacks were slaughtered systematically in a few weeks in January 1919" and that this "was one of the main factors which led to the disappearance of the Cossacks as a nation." In addition, Decossackization also involved dividing up the lands of Cossack Hosts among other divisions and giving them to new autonomous republics of non-Cossack minorities. This was especially true of the Terek Cossacks' land. Cossacks were also banned from serving in the Red Army.
Some recent literature claims that hundreds of thousands or even millions of Cossacks were killed by the Soviet Government during Decossackization. According to Michael Kort, "During 1919 and 1920, out of a population of approximately 3 million, the Bolshevik regime killed or deported an estimated 300,000 to 500,000 Cossacks", including 45 thousand Terek Cossacks. The Denikin regime alleged that in 1918–19, 5,598 were executed in the provinces of the Don, 3,442 in the Kuban, and 2,142 in Stavropol. On the other hand, historian Leonid Futorianskiy disputes these claims and argues instead that, during the preceding White Terror of the Krasnov regime, between 25 and 40 thousand Cossacks were killed. The Cossack homelands were often very fertile, and during the collectivisation campaign many Cossacks shared the fate of kulaks.
The Soviet famine of 1932–1933, called Holodomor by Cossacks, hit Ukraine, Volga, Don, Kuban, and Terek territories (the Northern Caucasus) very hard. The famine caused a population decline of about 20-30% in these territories (the population decline in the rural areas, populated by ethnic Cossacks, was even higher, since metro areas were not affected by the famine). Robert Conquest estimates the number of famine-related deaths in the Northern Caucasus to be at about 1 million. Grain and other produce were expropriated from Cossack families, leaving them to starve and die, and many families were forced out of their homes in the Winter time, leaving them to freeze to death. These facts are documented in Mikhail Sholokhov's letters to Joseph Stalin, and by eyewitness accounts.
In 1936, under pressure from Cossack communities, the Soviet government lifted the ban on Cossacks serving in the Red Army.
Second World War 
During the Second World War Cossacks found themselves on both sides of the conflict once again. Cossacks living in the USA and in the UK have always been the effective members of the US and the UK army and Navy, American Cossacks having considered the US president their commander-in-chief since at least John Turchin's times. A lot of cossacks joined the Resistance. Though some Cossacks joined German armed forces, they did so usually to defect either to the western allies or to the Resistance, to liberate their co-patriots and family members from Nazi work and concentration camps. However, a substantial number of Cossacks served with the Germans honestly. This can be explained by harsh repressions and genocide that their families suffered under the collectivization and Decossackization policies pursued by Joseph Stalin. Like other people of the Soviet Union, who suffered persecution under Stalin, some Cossacks mistakenly greeted the advancing German army as ``liberators" from Stalinism.
While some Cossacks in German service were the former White Army refugees many Soviet citizens including rank-and-file Cossacks defected from the Red Army to join the "Cossack units" of German armed forces, where native Cossacks usually served as officers only. As early as 1941, the first Cossack detachments, created out of prisoners of war, defectors and volunteers, were formed under German leadership. The Dubrovski Battalion formed of Don Cossacks in December 1941 was reorganised on July 30, 1942 into the Pavlov Regiment, numbering up to 350 men. The Cossacks were successfully utilized for anti-partisan activity in the rear of the German army.
The Cossack National Movement of Liberation was set in the hope of creating an independent Cossack state, Cossackia. It was not until 1943 that the 1st Cossack Division was formed under the command of General Helmuth von Pannwitz, where Cossack emigrees, like Andrei Shkuro and Pyotr Krasnov, took leading positions. The 2nd Cossack Division under the command of Colonel Hans-Joachim von Schultz, formed in 1944, existed only for a year, when both Cossack divisions became part of the XV Cossack Cavalry Corps, totalling some 25,000 men, wearing regular Wehrmacht uniforms and not Waffen-SS ones, as has occasionally been incorrectly alleged. Although in 1944 General von Pannwitz accepted loose affiliation with the Waffen-SS in order to gain access to their supply of superior arms and equipment, together with control over Cossack units in France, no pagan SS features had ever been implemented to respect the Christianity of Cossacks and the Corps command, structure, uniforms, ranks, etc. remained firmly Wehrmacht. The Corps contained regiments of different Cossack groups, that were Don, Kuban, Terek and Siberian Cossacks which had been fighting Tito's guerrillas, Ustashi and Domobranci in the former Yugoslavia. At the end of the war in 1945, they conducted a fighting retreat north-eastwards over the Karavanken Mountains into Carinthia where they surrendered to the British Army in Allied-administered Austria, hoping to join the British to fight Communism. There was little sympathy at the time for a group who were seen as Nazi collaborators and who were reported to have committed atrocities against resistance fighters in Eastern Europe. The Cossacks were sent to Russia as the part of Operation Keelhaul. On 28 May 1945 they were duped by British assurances that they were being taken to Canada or Australia. Instead they were all handed over to SMERSH on the Soviet demarcation line at Judenburg together with the civilian members of the Kazachi Stan, consisting of old folk, woman, and children as well as about 850 German officers and non-commissioned officers of the Corps. At the end of the war, the British repatriated between 40 to 50 thousand Cossacks, including their families, to the Soviet Union. An unknown number were subsequently executed or imprisoned. Reportedly, many of those punished had never been Soviet citizens. This episode is widely known as the Betrayal of the Cossacks. The Nuremberg tribunal excluded cases of service in the cavalry units of Waffen SS, to which Waffen SS Cossack units belonged, from the membership in the criminal organization of Waffen SS. However, the vast majority of the ethnic Cossacks bravely fought against the Nazis in the ranks of the Red Army and of the Red Navy on all war theaters. Their service in particular was crucial on the Southern theatre of the Eastern Front, where open prairies (steppes) made them ideal for frontal patrols and logistics. Although the first Cossacks units were formed prior to the war (as early as 1936), by 1942 there were 17 Cossack corps units in the Red Army (as opposed to only two in the German forces). Later these corps units were increased in size and reduced to eight. Their distinction in battle eventually led all to be merited as Guards. Oka Gorodovikov formed 49 Cossack cavalry divisions during the war only. Many ethnic Cossacks served in other divisions of the Red Army and in the Navy, of whom Boris Shaposhnikov, Markian Popov, Aksel Berg, Arseniy Golovko, Oka Gorodovikov, Lev Dovator, Pavel Belov, General Dmitry Karbyshev, Dmitry Lavrinenko, pilot Grigory Bakhchivandzhi and engineer Fedor Tokarev could be mentioned to name only a few. A Cossack detachment of the 4th Guards Corps marched in Red Square during the Moscow Victory Parade of 1945.
Modern times 
Following the war, Cossack units, along with cavalry in general, were rendered obsolete and released from the Soviet Army. In the post-war years many Cossack descendants were thought of as simple peasants, and those who lived inside an autonomous republic usually gave way to the particular minority and migrated elsewhere (particularly, to the Baltic region).
In the Perestroika era Soviet Union of the late 1980s, many successors of the Cossacks became enthusiastic about reviving their national traditions. In 1988 the Soviet Union passed a law which allowed formation of former hosts and the creation of new ones. The ataman of the largest, the All-Mighty Don Host, was granted Marshal rank and the right to form a new host. The Cossacks have taken an active part in many of the conflicts that took place afterwards: the War of Transnistria, the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict, the Georgian-Ossetian conflict, the Kosovo War, the First Chechen War and the Second Chechen War.
At the same time many attempts were made to increase the Cossack impact on Russian society and throughout the 1990s many regional authorities agreed to hand over some local administration and policing duties to the Cossacks. On April 2005, Vladimir Putin, President of Russia introduced a bill "On the State Service of the Russian Cossacks" (O gosudarstvennoy sluzhbe rossiyskogo kazachestva) to the State Duma, which was passed at the first reading on May 18, 2005. For the first time in decades the Cossacks were recognized as not only a distinct ethnocultural entity but also as a potent military force.
Culture and organization 
In early times, Cossack bands were commanded by an ataman (later called hetman). He was elected by the tribe members at a Cossack rada, as were the other important band officials: the judge, the scribe, the lesser officials, and even the clergy. The ataman's symbol of power was a ceremonial mace, a bulava. Today, Russian Cossacks are led by Atamans, and Ukrainian - by Hetmans.
After the split of Ukraine along the Dnieper River by the Polish-Russian Treaty of Andrusovo, 1667, Ukrainian Cossacks were known as Left-bank Cossacks and Right-bank Cossacks.
The ataman had executive powers and at time of war he was the supreme commander in the field. Legislative power was given to the Band Assembly (Rada). The senior officers were called starshyna. In the absence of written laws, the Cossacks were governed by the "Cossack Traditions," the common, unwritten law.
Cossack society and government were heavily militarized. The nation was called a host (vois’ko, or viys’ko, translated as 'army'), and subdivided into regimental and company districts, and village posts (polky, sotni, and stanytsi).
Each Cossack settlement, alone or in conjunction with neighboring settlements, formed military units and regiments of light cavalry (or mounted infantry, for Siberian Cossacks) ready to respond to a threat on very short notice.
Russian Cossacks founded numerous settlements (called stanitsas) and fortresses along troublesome borders such as forts Verny (Almaty, Kazakhstan) in south Central Asia, Grozny in North Caucasus, Fort Alexandrovsk (Fort Shevchenko, Kazakhstan), Krasnovodsk (Turkmenbashi, Turkmenistan) Novonikolayevskaya stanitsa (Bautino, Kazakhstan), Blagoveshchensk, towns and settlements at Ural, Ishim, Irtysh, Ob, Yenisei, Lena, Amur, Anadyr (Chukotka), and Ussuri Rivers. A group of Albazin Cossacks settled in China as early as 1685.
Cossacks actively exchanged cultures and customs with nearby peoples (for example, the Terek Cossacks were heavily influenced by the culture of North Caucasian tribes). They also frequently married local residents (other non-Cossack settlers and natives) regardless of race or origin, sometimes setting aside religious restrictions. War brides brought from distant lands were also common in Cossack families. One of the Russian Volunteer Army commanders, General Bogaevsky mentions in his book one of his Cossacks unit's servicemen, Sotnik Khoperski, who was Chinese by origin and brought from Manchuria during the Russian-Japanese War 1904–1905 as a child, adopted and raised by a Cossack family.
Family life 
Cossack family values are simple, rigid, and to a Western eye, seem to come from another era. In theory the men build the home and provide an income; the women cook, clean and give birth to children. Traditional Russian values, culture, and Orthodoxy form the bedrock of their beliefs.
Cossacks, particularly those in rural areas, tend to have more children than other Slavic or Christian peoples in Russia.
Rural Cossacks often live in large clans led by an elder patriarch, usually a grandfather, who often has the title of Ataman. But in the past when male Cossacks waged permanent wars at a large distance, just female Cossacks were family leaders and even both protected their villages and towns from enemy attacks and raided and disarmed neighboring villages of other peoples. This is why, for example, Leo Tolstoy emphasized Cossack feminism in his "Cossacks" novel. Sergei Korolev's mother from the well-known Zaporozhian Sich Cossack leader family used to joke, that men could be real Cossack family leaders in the outer space only.
Popular image 
Cossacks have long appealed to romantics as idealizing freedom and resistance to external authority, and their military exploits against their enemies have contributed to this favourable image.
For others they have been a symbol of repression because of the role of various horsemen crying "Cossacks" to cheer up themselves and to frighten people in suppressing popular uprisings in the Russian Empire and their actions during the Khmelnytsky Uprising.
Literary reflections of Cossack culture abound in Russian, Ukrainian and Polish literatures, particularly in the works of Nikolai Gogol's Taras Bulba, Taras Shevchenko, Mikhail Sholokhov, Henryk Sienkiewicz's book With Fire and Sword. One of Leo Tolstoy's first novellas, The Cossacks, depicts their autonomy and estrangement from Moscow and centralized rule. Most of Polish Romantic literature deals with themes about the Cossacks. (Roman Catholics especially Poles could be Zaporozhian Cossacks up to 1635. A lot of landless Polish Schlahta converted into Orthodox Catholics to divide the lands of Russian Schlahta together with Cossacks during the Khmelnitsky's uprising. After this Cossacks used to convert Poles, especially Polish children, into Orthodox Catholics to turn them into Cossacks. Many Polish and Polish Jewish children were adopted into Cossack families. All Poles captured with arms in 1812-1814 campaign were enlisted in Cossack Hosts for 25 years, though without their obligation to convert into Orthodox Catholics now. Moreover, those who converted into Orthodox Catholics might escape of the Cossack service and of any other exile. Polish Cossack became synonymous with a Polish Roman Catholic patriot since 1814 thus. Even Marshal Rokossovsky commanded a Kuban Cossack bridage in the Soviet Army.)
Cossacks are also portrayed in Lord Byron's "Mazepa", Tennyson's poem "The Charge of the Light Brigade", and Richard Connell's short story "The Most Dangerous Game". In many of the stories by adventure writer Harold Lamb, the main character is a Cossack.
In Ukraine, where the Cossackdom represents historical and cultural heritage, some people have been attempting to recreate the images of Ukrainian Cossacks. Traditional Ukrainian culture is often tied in with the Cossacks, and the Ukrainian government actively supports these attempts. The traditional Cossack Bulava is one of its national symbols, and the island of the Khortytsia, where the Zaporozhian Sich once existed, has been restored.
Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, many have begun seeing Russian Cossacks as defenders of Russian sovereignty. Cossacks not only reestablished all of their hosts, they also took over police and even administrative duties in their homelands. The Russian military also took advantage of the patriotic feelings among the Cossacks and as the hosts become larger and more organised, has in past turned over some of its surplus technology to them. On par with that, the Cossacks also play a large cultural role in the South of Russia. Since the whole rural ethnic Russian population of the Rostov-on-Don, Krasnodar and Stavropol territories, as well as the Autonomous republics of the Northern Caucasus, considers themselves consisting almost exclusively of at least spiritual Cossack descendants, the region was always known, even in the Soviet times for its high discipline, low crime and conservative views, like having one of the highest rates of religious attendance and literacy rates.
In the Russian Empire, the Cossacks were organized into several voiskos (hosts), which lived along the Russian border, or internal borders between Russian and non-Russian peoples. Each host had its own leadership and regalia as well as uniforms and ranks. However, by the late 19th century the latter were standardized following the example of the Imperial Russian Army. Following the 1988 law, which allowed the hosts to reform and the 2005 one that legally recognized the hosts as a combat service, the ranks and insignia were kept, but on all military tickets that are standard for the Russian Army they are given below.
|Modern Cossack rank||Equivalent modern Russian Army||Equivalent foreign rank|
|Mladshy Uryadnik||Mladshy Serzhant||Corporal|
|Starshy Uryadnik||Starshy Serzhant||Senior Sergeant|
|Mladshy Vakhmistr||Mladshy Praporshik*||Junior Warrant Officer|
|Starshy Vakhmistr||Starshy Praporshchik||Senior Warrant Officer|
|Podkhorunzhy||Mladshy Leitenant*||Junior Lieutenant|
|Sotnik||Starshy Leitenant||Senior Lieutenant|
*Rank presently absent in the Russian Army
**The application of ranks polkovnik and general is only stable for small hosts. Large hosts are divided into divisions and consequently the Russian Army sub-ranks general-mayor, general-leitenatant and general-polkovnik are used to distinguish the atamans' hierarchy of command, with the supreme ataman having the highest rank available. In such a case, the shoulder insignia has a dedicated one-, two- and three-star alignment, as normal in the Russian Army; otherwise it will be blank.
The same can be said about the colonel ranks as they are given to atamans of regional and district status. The lowest group, stanitsa, is commanded by Yesaul. If the region or district lacks any other stanitsas, then the rank polkovnik is applied automatically but with no stars on the shoulder. As the hosts continue to grow, starless shoulder batches are becoming increasingly rare.
In addition, the supreme ataman of the largest Don Cossack Host is officially titled as marshal, and so wears insignia that is derived from the Russian/Soviet marshal ranks, including the diamond Marshal Star. This is because the Don Cossack Supreme Ataman is recognized as the official head of all Cossack armies (including those outside the present Russian borders). He also has the authority to recognize and dissolve new hosts.
Cossacks were expected to provide their own uniforms. While these were sometimes manufactured in bulk by factories owned by the individual host, garments were often handed down or cut out within a family. Individual items might accordingly vary from those laid down by regulation or be of obsolete pattern. Each Host had its own distinctive uniform colourings.
For most hosts, the basic uniform comprised the standard loose-fitting tunics and wide trousers typical of Russian regular troops during the period 1881–1908. However the Caucasian Hosts (Kuban and Terek) wore the very long, open fronted, cherkesska coats with ornamental cartridge loops and coloured beshmets (waistcoats), that epitomise the popular image of the Cossacks. Most hosts wore fleece hats with coloured cloth tops in full dress with peaked caps for ordinary duties. The two Caucasian Hosts however appear to have worn high fleece caps on most occasions.
Until 1909, Cossack regiments wore white blouses and cap covers of standard Russian army pattern in summer. The shoulder straps and cap bands were in the host colour as detailed below. From 1910 to 1918, a khaki-grey jacket was worn for field wear with the blue or green breeches and coloured stripes of the dress uniform.
While most Cossacks served as cavalry, there were infantry and artillery units in several of the hosts. Three regiments of Cossacks formed part of the Imperial Guard, as well as the Konvoi—the tsar's mounted escort. The Imperial Guard regiments wore tailored Government-issue uniforms which had spectacular and colourful appearance. As an example, the Konvoi wore scarlet cherkesskas, white beshmets and red crowns on their fleece hats.
|Host||Year est.||Cherkesska or Tunic||Beshmet||Trousers||Fleece Hat||Shoulder Straps|
|Don Cossacks||1570||blue tunic||blue||blue with red stripes||red crown||blue|
|Ural Cossacks||1571||blue tunic||none||blue with crimson stripes||crimson crown||crimson|
|Terek Cossacks||1577||grey-brown cherkesska||light blue||grey||light blue crown||light blue|
|Kuban Cossacks||1864||black cherkesska||red||grey||red crown||red|
|Orenburg Cossacks||1744||green tunic||none||green with light blue stripes||light blue crown||light blue|
|Astrakhan Cossacks||1750||blue tunic||none||blue with yellow stripes||yellow crown||yellow|
|Siberian Cossacks||1750s||green tunic||none||green with red stripes||red crown||red|
|Transbaikal Cossacks||1851||green tunic||none||green with yellow stripes||yellow crown||yellow|
|Amur Cossacks||1858||green tunic||none||green with yellow stripes||yellow crown||green|
|Semiryechensk Cossacks||1867||green tunic||none||green with crimson stripes||crimson crown||crimson|
|Ussuri Cossacks||1889||green tunic||none||green with yellow stripes||yellow crown||yellow|
*All details are based on the 1909–14 dress uniforms as portrayed in "Tablitsi Form' Obmundirovaniya Russkoi Armi", Colonel V.K. Shenk, published by the Imperial Russian War Ministry 1910–11.
Modern-day Russian Cossack identity 
Unlike in Ukraine, where the issue of Cossack status and identity seems to have been resolved, in modern Russia, the question of "Who is a Cossack?" can and does create major controversies. There are ethnic or "born" (prirodnye) Cossacks, those trace or, at least, claim to trace their direct ancestry to Cossacks of the old, Tsarist era. These are mainly either Orthodox Catholic people or Old Believers (including "edinovertsy"), who consider themselves to be Slavic.
Others, however, who are not "born" Cossacks, can become Cossacks through initiation. They are not necessarily Slavic or Christian. For example, since 2004, in the city of Perm functioned modern Russia's first Muslim Cossack unit.
Not everyone agrees that "initiated" Cossacks should be considered Cossacks at all. Nor is there consensus on what is considered a proper form of initiation.
There are people who simply put on a Cossack uniform and, essentially, pretend to be Cossacks, perhaps because there is a large ethnic Cossack population in their area and it is more convenient to try to fit in; or because that is simply a popular fad at the moment. Such individuals tend to be scoffed at by "real" Cossacks and referred to as 'ryazhenye' (ряженые, 'dressed up phonies').
Because of the controversies surrounding the identity issue, true population numbers of Cossacks in Russia still cannot be worked out. There are said to be 7 million people in Russia who consider themselves Cossacks. Most Cossack leaders estimate the number of ethnic Cossacks as between 2.5 and 4 million. But Boris Almazov believes that there are a few hundred thousands only.
See also 
Notes and references 
- Cossacks lived along major rivers -- Dnieper, Don, Volga, Terek, Ural, Amur -- and had excellent naval capabilities and skills-- they were excellent fishermen and sea merchants in peaceful times and executed expert naval service in war times. Also the word "frontier" is one characteristic of Cossack communities that is frequently mentioned, the Russian Military Encyclopedia (1911) has it as the probable translation of "Cossack". "Frontier" is used to explain the democracy of Cossack communities according to the Frontier Thesis by Frederick Jackson Turner. Really Cossacks combined features of US cowboys, US cavalry, US Coast Guard, US Marine Corps, US Navy, its father founder John Paul Jones being a Cossack himself. But nevertheless the Russian frontier was more similar to a Canadian one, than to an American frontier, with the greater influence of Métis populations because of the lack of European women at Russian frontiers. (Cossacks called first-generation metis "Tuma", they had not even a word for Metis in general. And Cossacks meant not racial, but cultural mixing in a Tuma, because children of blonde blue-eyed Iranian women were Tumas as well, while children of Slavic, Romanian, Jewish, Gypsy and other women from Europe were not called Tumas. Then, many Eastern countries sources could explain the native level Iranian language of Stenka Razin by his Iranian mother only, and reported Razin as a Tuma. But he spoke many other languages at a native level as well.) Moreover, while French language, prevalent at Canadian frontier, is not the only state language of Canada, Cossack Chernigov dialect developed into the state language of Russia.
- R.P.Magocsi "A History of Ukraine", pp.179–181
- Count Leo Tolstoy had, "that all Russian history has been made by Cossacks. No wonder Europeans call all of us that...Our people as a whole wishes to be Cossacks.
- This connection is supported by old Cossack self-names such as kazara (Russian: казара), kazarla (Russian: казарла), kozarlyhi(Ukrainian: козарлюги), kazare (Russian: казарре); cf. N. D. Gostev, "About the use of "Kazarа" and other derivative words." Kazarla ethnic magazine, 2010, №1. (link) On another note, the name of Khazars in Old Russian chronicles is kozare (Ukrainian: козаре). Prince Myshetsky and later Rigel'man wrote extensively about the Cossack folklore, where Khazar origin is mentioned. Myshetsky mentions the date 948 as the date of the first Cossack Varangian Guard on Byzantine service, explaining the name "Cossacks" as Greek misspelling of "Khazars". Really, an Irish surname Cossack known since the 12th century can be explained by Anglo-Saxon and Norman service in the Varangian Guard and the migration of the former Varangian guards to Ireland. Later Gustav von Ewers discovered Russian kaganate and Volga Rus as the legitimate sources of the Russian statehood, the majority of Varangians, including the first Russian ruling dynasty, being Khazars, in Ewers' opinion. The Russian emperor Nicholas I, impressed by Ewers' works, elaborated on Ewers' two-nation Khazar-Russian origin of the Russian state, the Empire being the Russian-Cossack one, and the heir of the Russian Emperor being the supreme Ataman of Cossacks since Nicholas the First, similarly to the Prince of Wales' rule in Wales. A Russian Emperor had appointed all atamans of Cossack Hosts since Nicholas the First.
- Professor Peter V. Golubovsky from Kiev university explained that Severians had been the significant part not only of early medieval Russians, but of Khazars as well, the Khazar state being the "Slavic stronghold in the East". Many Khazars, like Cossacks, described in "Cossacks" by Leo Tolstoy, could be Slavic-Turkic bilinguals. *(Russian) Golubovsky Peter V. (1884) Pechenegs, Torks and Cumans before the invasion of the Tatars. History of the South Russian steppes in the 9th-13th Centuries (Печенеги, Торки и Половцы до нашествия татар. История южно-русских степей IX—XIII вв.); available at Runivers.ru in DjVu format. Later Mikhail Artamonov and his school confirmed many Golubovsky's results.
- The official theory that the Cossacks originated from fugitive Russians and are the military class of fugitive Russians dates from 1834 only, from the work of Bronevskii. It was the prerequisite for the government of Emperor Nicholas I to mix Bronevskii's and Ewers' theories publishing in 1835 the "imperial order", entitled "Administrative Regulations for the Don Host." This order only converted the Cossacks from a people with its own ethnicity to the status of a "military class" in the same way as Varangians had been the semi-military and semi-naval class of Khazars, in Ewers' opinion.
- The Russian "Military encyclopedia", published in Saint-Petersburg in 1911, advanced a new theory that Khazars themselves originated as the military class of Huns, where "Ко" in their name is "defense, protection", and "zar" or "zak" means "a frontier", "kozar" (the name of a Khazar in Russian) and "kozak" meaning "frontier protector".
- The Don Host and the Sich region had close ties, and both Hosts participated in numerous joint war expeditions, the most known of which is Azov Sitting, when Don and Zaporozhian Cossacks stormed the Azov fortress and defended it with the aid of volunteers throughout Russia against Turkish Armed forces for 5 years. A permanent exchange of Cossacks existed between the Zaporozhie region and the Don region; Dinskoy (Don) Kuren (division) was one of Kurens that made up the Sich itself. The connection is also reflected in the fact that there are major towns in the Don and Dniepr regions sharing similar names, for example, Novocherkassk city and Starocherkasskaya stanitsa in the Don region, and Cherkasy city in the Ukraine. Notably, the exonym "Cherkasy" was often used as the name not only of any enemy Cossack (from Polish, Turk, Tatar etc. armies) of any origin but of Dnieper Cossacks, even when allied with Moscow, in Moscovite chronicles; and the Lower Dnieper (Zaporozhian) Cossacks often referred to Higher Dnieper (Malorussian) Cossacks as "Cherkasy" as well.
- From Tak to Yes: Understanding the East Europeans, Yale Richmond, Intercultural Press, 1995, p. 294
- Андрусовский мир 1667 http://historydoc.edu.ru/catalog.asp?cat_ob_no=15249&ob_no=16146
- Britannica Don River – History and economy
- Andrew Gordeyev. The history of Cossacks. Moscow, 1992
- With the remarkable and important exclusion of Malorussian Cossacks, the former "Registered Cossacks" in Poland and "Town Zaporozhian Host" in Russia, which were transformed into civil estates, including the new civil estate of Cossacks.
- The poor, without a knight horse, were to serve in Cossack infantry and in Cossack artillery, only Navy had no Cossack ships and units, and Cossacks served in Navy together with other people.
- This is not only well documented, but reflected in a story by Sholom Aleichem titled "A Wedding Without Musicians," where a Jewish town in Ukraine calls for a Cossack unit to prevent a pogrom by the local mob.
- Cossacks voted for revolutionary parties (Constitutional Democrats and Social Democrats) usually themselves, therefore as a rule their police service was used to suppress terrorist activities, not peaceful meetings etc. But all horsemen, including mounted police, cheered up themselves and frightened people, crying "Cossacks". This is why it is only mistakenly alleged that Cossacks for example killed people in the Bloody Sunday (1905) etc.
- "РГ + Россия 24: Росстат об итогах Всероссийской переписи населения 2010 года — "Вот какие мы - россияне" — Российская газета — Росстат об итогах Всероссийской переписи населения 2010 года". Rg.ru. Retrieved 2012-08-13.
- "Конгресс Казаков в Америке | Рассеяны но не расторгнуты". Kazaksusa.com. Retrieved 2012-08-13.
- "Этническое казачье объединение Казарла". Kazarla.ru. Retrieved 2012-08-13.
- "Вольная Станица". Fstanitsa.ru. Retrieved 2012-08-13.
- "Cossacks". Encyclopediaofukraine.com. Retrieved 2012-08-13.
- Казак // Этимологический словарь Фасмера
- "Online Etymology Dictionary".
- Encyclopædia Britannica, Article Cossack
- Iaroslav Lebedynsky, Histoire des Cosaques Ed Terre Noire, p38
- Shambarov, Valery (2007). Kazachestvo Istoriya Volnoy Rusi. Algoritm Expo, Moscow. ISBN 978-5-699-20121-1.
- Vasili Glazkov (Wasili Glaskow), History of the Cossacks, p. 3, Robert Speller & Sons, New York, ISBN 0-8315-0035-2
- Samuel J Newland, Cossacks in the German Army, 1941–1945, Routledge, 1991, ISBN 0-7146-3351-8
- "The Cumans, who are living in the land of the Kipchak since time immemorial, […], are known to us as Turks. It is these Turks, no new immigrants from the areas beyond the Yaik, but true descendants of the ancient Scythians, who now again occur in world history under the name Cumans, […]." (Karl Friedrich Neumann, the People of southern Russia in its historical evolution, BG Teubner, Leipzig 1855, p.132.)
- The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. (Out of print). Cossacks. Columbia University Press, 2001–04
- Hrushevsky, M. Illustrated History of Ukraine. "BAO". Donetsk, 2003. ISBN 966-548-571-7
- Don Cossacks http://www.razdory-museum.ru/cossacks.html
- Cossacks of Kalmykia http://www.kalm.ru/en/cossacks.html
- Ukrainians are still called Rusi in the Romanian language partly because of the Danubian Sich existence in Romania.
- This is also true of Don Cossacks of the Lower Don, where the local dialect has obvious Ukrainian connections. Many Ukrainian peasants joined Terek Cossacks in 20-30s of the 19th century, influencing local dialects. But the Grebensky (Row) Cossacks, the group of Terek Cossacks with deep Adyghe roots because of intermarriages, still have an old northern Russian Viatka dialect (probably with connections to the old dialects of the White Sea shores). Middle Don dialects have obvious connections with northern Russian dialects, Belorussian and Volyn dialects of Ukrainian, close to Belorussian dialects. Only Upper Don dialects are southern Russian ones, though, of course, there are no distinct borders between Ukrainian and southern Russian dialects, modern Russian being the descendant not of old dialects of the Greater Russia but of a medieval Chernigov dialect.
- Is there mova in the Kuban region? Kuban newspaper. http://ngkub.ru/news/old_265
- Bogdan Zolotarevsky. Kuban and Ukraine. http://www.ukrterra.com.ua/developments/history/modern/zolotarevsky-kub.htm
- Kubanskaya balachka. The school course http://pedsovet.org/component/option,com_mtree/task,viewlink/link_id,99614/Itemid,118/
- John Ure. The Cossacks: An Illustrated History. London: Gerald Duckworth
- Cossack Navy 16th – 17th Centuries
- "In 1651, in the face of a growing threat from Poland and forsaken by his Tatar allies, Khmelnytsky asked the tsar to incorporate Ukraine as an autonomous duchy under Russian protection... the details of the union were negotiated in Moscow. The Cossacks were granted a large degree of autonomy, and they, as well as other social groups in Ukraine, retained all the rights and privileges they had enjoyed under Polish rule."Pereyaslav agreement". Encyclopædia Britannica. 2006.
- Dvornik, Francis (1992). The Slavs in European History and Civilization. Rutgers Univ Pr. ISBN 978-0-8135-0799-6.
- The dissertation of Justus Martius, maintained in Mulhgausen in 1674 http://www.vostlit.info/Texts/Dokumenty/Russ/XVII/1660-1680/Razin/Martius/frametext.htm
- Angus Konstam. Russian army of the Seven Years' war. Osprey Publishing (October 15, 1996) Language: English ISBN 185532587X ISBN 978-1855325876
- "www.napoleon-series.org/reviews/military/c_cossackhurrah.html Cossack Hurrah!". Retrieved 2007-04-23.
- Notable supporters of this point of view were Gustav von Ewers, Nicholas I, Peter V. Golubovsky, Mikhail Artamonov and his school, including Lev Gumilyov etc.
- Kadomsky The ethnic composition of Black Sea Rus. http://www.dissercat.com/content/etnicheskii-sostav-prichernomorskoi-rusi See works of Evgueni Goloubinski and Vasily Vasilievsky about Relations of Gothoalans (Goths-Tetraxits) and Russian colonists in region of North-East part of Black Sea and Sea of Azov as well. The Goths-Alans came from the Western part of North Caucasus and from Northern Europe, Goths intermixed with Slavs during their trip from Northern Europe. When Alans had moved to Europe, these Goths occupied the part of the former Alania in Crimea and were called Gothoalans, Russian occupying another part were called Roxolans. Later people from the western part of North Caucasus joined Gotho-Alans in their Feodoro principality. It is believed that Crimean Greeks have the Gotho-Alan ancestry, among others. Mikhail Lomonosov was the first to identify Roxolans as Russians similar to Gotho-Alan identification as Goths.
- See penultimate footnote.
- O'Rourke, Shane (2000). Warriors and peasants: The Don Cossacks in late imperial Russia. ISBN 978-0-312-22774-6.
- Old Believer – Raskolniks – text in English
- After the Caucasus war many Muslims, Subbotniks, Molokane, non-Cossack Jews and various Christian minorities, whether Cossack or non-Cossack, moved outside the Don area, usually to the newly conquered frontier areas or abroad. For example many Moslem Cossacks moved to Turkey because of the lack of Moslem brides in their villages. The Don Host resisted this policy and some minorities were kept, as was the case of the majority of Moslem Cossacks and of Rostov-on-Don non-Cossack Jews. (References to be supplied.)
- Wixman. The Peoples of the USSR, p. 51
- Donnelly, Alton S. The Russian Conquest of Bashkiria, Yale University Press, 1968. ISBN 0-300-00430-3
- Knotel, p.394
- Seaton, Albert (1972). The Cossacks. Random House. ISBN 978-0-85045-116-0.
- Paul Avrich, Russian Rebels: Razin, (W.W. Norton & Company, 1972), 59.
- Avrich, Russian Rebels, 52.
- Avrich, Russian Rebels, 58.
- Avrich, Russian Rebels, 60.
- Shane O’Rourke, The Cossacks, (Manchester University Press, 2008), 91.
- O’Rourke, The Cossacks, 90-91; Avrich, Russian Rebels, 62.T
- Avrich, Russian Rebels, 66-7.
- O’Rourke, The Cossacks, 95-97.
- O’Rourke, The Cossacks, 95-6.
- O’Rourke, The Cossacks, 100-105.
- Avrich, Russian Rebels, 112.
- Avrich, Russian Rebels, 113.
- O’Rourke, The Cossacks, 115.
- O’Rourke, The Cossacks, 116-117.
- Jack P. Greene and Robert Forster, “Pugachev’s Rebellion,” in Preconditions of Revolution in Early Modern Europe, ed. Marc Raeff, (The John Hopkins Press, 1975), 170.
- Raeff, "Pugachev's Rebellion," 172.
- O’Rourke, The Cossacks, 117.
- O’Rourke, The Cossacks, 120.
- O’Rourke, The Cossacks, 124.
- O’Rourke, The Cossacks, 126.
- O’Rourke, The Cossacks, 127-8.
- O’Rourke, The Cossacks, 128.
- O’Rourke, The Cossacks, 129-30.
- "Pogroms: Anti-Jewish Violence in Modern Russian History," p. 303, John Doyle Klier (Editor), Shlomo Lambroza (Editor)
- Soviet order to exterminate Cossacks is unearthed University of York Communications Office, 21 January 2003
- Kort, Michael (2001). The Soviet Colosus: History and Aftermath, p. 133. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe. ISBN 0-7656-0396-9.
- Pavel Polian – Forced migrations in USSR – Retrieved on 5 February 2007
- Orenburg State University
- "голодомор | Вольная Станица". Fstanitsa.ru. Retrieved 2012-08-13.
- Robert Conquest (1986) The Harvest of Sorrow: Soviet Collectivization and the Terror-Famine. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-505180-7, p. 306.
- "ФЭБ: Шолохов — Сталину И. В., 4 апреля 1933. — 2003 (текст)". Feb-web.ru. Retrieved 2012-08-13.
- "Голод 1932 - 1933 годов, рассказы очевидцев. Голод в Казахстане, Поволжье, Северном Кавказе и Украине. Голодомор". Bibliotekar.ru. Retrieved 2012-08-13.
- "Постановление ЦИК СССР от 20.04.1936 о снятии с казачества ограничений по службе в РККА — Викитека" (in (Russian)). Ru.wikisource.org. Retrieved 2012-08-13.
- Cossack Congress in America http://kazaksusa.com/history/kazakiya.html
- "Samuel J. Newland The Cossack Volunteers".
- Stalin's Enemies "Combat Magazine" ISSN 1542–1546 Volume 03 Number 01 Winter
- The majority of White Army refugees held the anti-Nazi views and either refrained from the support of Germans or joined the Resistance.
- File:Ivan Hrechinjuk.JPG#file
- Die Kosaken im Ersten und Zweiten Weltkrieg, Harald Stadler (Hrsg), Studienverlag Innsbruck 2008, pp. 151, 166, ISBN 978-3-7065-4623-2
- Hans Werner Neulen, An deutscher Seite, pp. 320,459,Munich 1985
- Samuel Newlands, Cossacks in the German Army, (London 1991), ISBN 0-7146-3351-8
- Matthias Hoy (Ph.D.thesis), Der Weg in den Tod pp. 152-55, 473-76 (Vienna 1991)
- General Denikin, who had been the firm anti-Nazi activist and the champion of Western aid to the Red Army, in vain tried to explain to Western allies, that many Cossacks in Nazi service, such as old-believers, had never been any Nazis, had understand nothing in Nazi ideology and even in anti-Communism and waged, in their opinion, their own traditional war even not so against Communism and its western allies, but against Orthodox Catholic missionaries, Roman Catholics etc.. Cossacks saved a lot of Serbs, Jews, Gypsies, Communists and others from Ustashi. Their false marriages saved many Russian prisoners of work camps.
- Hughes, James and Sasse, Gwendolyn: Ethnicity and territory in the former Soviet Union: regions in conflict. Taylor & Francis, 2002, page 107. ISBN 0-7146-8210-1
- Evans, Julian (2005-07-02). "Putin sends for Cossacks in fight against terrorism". The Times (London). Retrieved 2010-04-30.
- Russian nations
- "Paramilitary: The Cossacks Return". Strategypage.com. 2010-09-17. Retrieved 2012-08-13.
- "Сопредельные с ними (поселенцами – Ред.) по "Горькой линии" казаки ... поголовно обучались Киргизскому наречию и переняли некоторые, впрочем, безвредные привычки кочевого народа". Генерал-губернатор Казнаков в докладе Александру III, 1875. "Among – Edit. neighboring (to settlers -Edit.) in Gor'kaya Liniya Cossacks ... everyone learnt Kyrgys language and adopted some, harmless though, habits of nomadic folks" quoted Report of Governor-General Kaznakov to Tzar Alexander III, 1875.
- Богаевский А.П. Ледяной поход. Воспоминания 1918 г.
- "Russia's Cossacks rise again :: Russia's Cossacks rise again". news.bbc.co.uk (BBC News). 2007-08-09. Retrieved 2007-08-09.
- When Malorossian Cossack regiments had been disbanded, those Cossacks who were not promoted to nobility or did not join other estates were united into a civil Cossack estate, like Korolev's mother family. http://yablor.ru/blogs/12-yanvarya-1907-goda-rodilsya-sergey-pavlovich-ko/169210
- Milovidov, Bessonov. Polish prisoners of war in 1812-1814. http://adjudant.ru/captive/bes06.htm
- "В Перми появятся первые в России казаки-мусульмане".
- "Казаки и "ряженые"".
- Boris Almazov. Cossack tragedy. http://borisalmazov.narod.ru/stati/kazachia_drama.htm
- "В России насчитывается 7 млн. казаков".
- Knotel, Richard, Knotel, Herbert, & Sieg Herbert (1980) Uniforms of the World: A compendium of Army, Navy and Air Force uniforms 1700–1937, Charles Scribner's Sons, New York
- Summerfield, Stephen (2005) Cossack Hurrah: Russian Irregular Cavalry Organisation and Uniforms during the Napoleonic Wars, Partizan Press ISBN 1-85818-513-0
- Summerfield, Stephen (2007) The Brazen Cross: Brazen Cross of Courage: Russian Opochenie, Partizans and Russo-German Legion during the Napoleonic Wars, Partizan Press ISBN 978-1-85818-555-2
- O’Rourke, Shane (2008). "The Cossacks," Manchester University Press ISBN 0-7190-7680-3
Further reading 
- H. Havelock, The Cossacks in the Early Seventeenth Century, English Historical Review, Vol. 13, No. 50 (Apr., 1898), pp. 242–260, JSTOR
- "The Cossack Corps", General der Flieger Hellmuth Felmy, US Army Historical Division, Hailer Publishing, 2007
- Le Fiamme di Zaporoze -Flames of Zaporoze – Novel on Zaporozhian cossacks of hetman Ivan Mazepa. ISBN 88-6155-268-4
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Cossacks|
|Look up Cossacks in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
- Cossack Site – eng., rus., spa., fre.
- Cossackdom.com – history of Cossacks XV-XXI cent.
- Cossacks during the Napoleonic Wars
- Zaporizhian Cossacks
- History of Ukrainian Cossacks at Encyclopedia of Ukraine
- Soviet Cossacks – an issue of the propaganda journal USSR in Construction which presents numerous images of Cossack life in Soviet Russia.
- Cossack Nation Livejournal
- Cossack Nation -- The Social Network of Ethnic Cossacks
- The Congress of Cossacks in America