The Don Cossacks were almost exterminated in Russia by the Soviets. These actions of the Soviet government were quite logical. The Cossacks were natural enemies of the Bolsheviks. While the Cossacks maintained their way of life based on military training, loyalty to traditions, religion, the Bolsheviks could not feel safe. Any anti-Bolshevik movement has in disposal well prepared, easily mobilized army to counter the regular forces of the Soviets. Therefore, the destruction of the Cossacks was a prerequisite for the survival of Soviet Russia.
But why British government took an active part in the genocide of the Cossacks?
In the beginning of 20th century there were more than 1.5 million Don Cossacks in Russia. By the end of the 20th century they have less than 200,000 people. More than 85% of the Cossack people were destroyed by Soviet Republic.
We can understand the actions of the Bolsheviks. But it is difficult to understand the reason why the United Kingdom, considered to be a civilized country, took part in the genocide.
June 1 2014 is 69th anniversary of the day when, in Death Valley under Austrian town of Lienz British command passed into the hands of the Soviet NKVD about 70 thousand Cossacks. More than half of them were elderly, women and children. By this deed British government condemned them to death camps in the Urals and Siberia. Many of Cossacks were shot by Communists.
The formal basis for issuing the Cossacks were the Yalta agreements. In accordance with these agreements the United Kingdom and the United States agreed to repatriate to the USSR all former citizens of Soviet Russia, which fought on the side of Germany during WWII.
- Most part of repatriated Cossacks never took part in combat – they were women and children
- Part of them never were citizens of Soviet Russia. They left Russia after revolution and had nothing in common with Stalin’s regime.
Issuance of the Cossacks was made with terrible ferocity. The forced repatriation of Cossacks in Lienz – one of the most horrific crimes of war against all human and divine rules. Let the heroic death of the unconquered Cossacks always remind future generations about the atrocities of communism and the betrayal of the British. We shall never forget! – Duchess Olga Nikolaevna Kulikov-Romanova, Toronto, May 2005
There is Memorial and Museum “The Don Cossacks in the fight against the Bolsheviks” in the village Yelanskaya in Don Cossack Lands. The government of modern Russia has tried for several years to close this Museum established with private funds. While calling for the revival of the Cossacks, the government at the same time tries to obliterate from Cossack history all the years of struggle against Communist Russia.
On the territory of the memorial there is a cross with the simple inscription “Lienz. June 1, 1945”.
Many Cossacks all over the world remember this date and place.
The Cossacks don’t need compensation and privileges as victims of genocide. To demand money for the suffering is to admit defeat and humiliation. All we want – we should never forget and forgive.