Sunday, September 23, 2012

Russia: Regional governor to deploy Cossack patrols to tackle Muslim criminal invasion

(RT) The governor of one of Russia’s southern regions has been accused of discrimination and nationalism for a proposal to deploy patrols to tackle immigration issues in the Caucasus region. Human rights activists blasted the governor for his statements.

­Governor Aleksandr Tkachev of the Krasnodar region came under fire after a meeting with regional police chiefs on Thursday, where he announced the establishment of a 1,000-member Cossack-staffed volunteer security force. With an annual budget of more than $20 million, the organization would assist police in upholding public order, beginning in September.

The force would consist of Kuban Cossacks, a multi-ethnic group descended from farmers, who historically acted as border guards for the Russian Empire. They enjoyed a great degree of political autonomy, both as gratitude for their service and in acknowledgement of their self-sufficiency and militant ethos.

Tkachev waded into the hot-button issue of ethnic tension, calling on police officers to embrace their future Cossack partners. The Krasnodar region is predominantly Russian, although roughly one-fifth of its population is of non-Russian ethnicity and have been residing there for decades.

Krasnodar borders Russia’s North Caucasus, a conflict-ridden region plagued by high unemployment, forcing its non-Russian Muslim population to head elsewhere to make a living. The influx of migrants has resulted in conflict ranging from cultural disagreements to organized crime and violence.