Published on 5th February 2014 by

March of the Cossacks (2005): Russian President Vladimir Putin has recruited more than 800 Cossacks to patrol Sochi during the Winter Olympics. The decision marks a return to prominence of the Cossacks, warriors believed to be descended from Khazars, who helped expand and guard the Russian Empire. This film, shot almost a decade ago, looks at how they regained their influence under Putin’s patronage.

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Repressed under the Soviet regime, Russia’s traditional warriors are making a comeback. The Cossacks are once again protecting Russia’s border. Putin wants to pay them to form their own security force.

The Cossacks have always had a strong idea of what Russia should be — white and Christian like them. Muslims are seen as a threat to their way of life. “They beat me very badly and said ‘we are sick of your Muslim customs. Get out of Kasnodar'”, describes one Turkish victim.

Healy – Ref. 2871

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