The Cossacks who dispersed the recent protest in Moscow previously fought on behalf of the separatists in Ukraine, Novaya Gazeta reports.
According to reporters, the “Crimean Cossack Regiment” is part of the Union of Cossack Forces in Russia and Abroad, which is headed by Nikolai Dyakonov.
Dyakonov and his subordinates are known to have extensive combat experience even from before the Ukraine-Russian conflict.
“After the ‘Crimean Spring’, Dyakonov’s Cossacks went to fight in the Donbas. Dyakonov himself spoke out discreetly about the battles in Eastern Ukraine, referring to combat in Snizhne and Savur-Mohyla,” the report states.
The Central Cossack Troops (CCT) believe that they have not broken the law, but merely expressed a civil position.
“On May 5, 2018, Cossacks from the CCT did not protect the public order in Moscow or even on Pushkin Square. The Cossacks of the CCT did not take part in any illegal actions. The Cossacks had come to the ‘Moscow Spring’ concert, where a performance was planned with a group with a Cossack repertoire. Nearby there was an unauthorized rally, where the Cossacks expressed their civil position, which is aimed towards the prevention of a forceful seizure of power, calls to engage in extremist activity and the incitement of hatred or war. Cossacks are traditionally defenders of the fatherland,” the official CCT website claims.
On May 5, more than a thousand people were arrested during anti-government protests in numerous Russian cities.