My own impressions of modern life of the Don Cossacks
All this is just my personal opinion, so I do not claim them to be the ultimate truth
My ancestors lived on the Don river within 300 years. They proudly named themselves Don Cossacks. They grew up wheat, bred horses, took part in wars, gave birth to children. On Sundays they went to church. And so till 1920 when going to church became dangerous. I...read more
The Lost Cossack is my personal blog which focuses on history and modern life of the Don Cossacks. Russian Civil war of 1917 scattered the Don Cossacks worldwide. The main part of the Cossacks didn’t support the communists who had come to the power. Moreover, they became one of the foundation blocks of White army. It is enough to tell that the full Cossack division was created in my native town Uryupinsk which had the population of only 30 000. It means that the division was entered practically by all adult male part of the town. The Soviet power was established on the Don river only in the 1920th years. The fierce resistance caused severe repressions. Many of the Cossacks who didn’t manage to leave the native lands were shot or sent to Siberia. Their property was confiscated. My parents managed to return to native places only after 1970. Thus I was born far from the Don steppes. When we returned, it became clear that the main part of the population has nothing in common with the Cossacks. I remember how my grandfather grumbled that there are more Cossacks in France or Argentina than here. After perestroyka in Russia when Communists lost their power the theme of the Don Cossacks became popular in some parts of Russian society. There were atamans and the Cossack patrols as in old times. The traditions seemed to revive. A proposal to introduce the fundamentals of the Cossack education in schools was actively discussed in newspapers. It seemed that all forgot that the Cossack education was militarized and sharply nationalistic.
The person who wasn’t born the Cossack, couldn’t become the Cossack even if he lived there all his life. It was bitterly and ridiculously for my grandfather to observe how the people having nothing in common with the Cossacks, speak at meetings demanding to revive the Cossack privileges and the right to an autonomy for the Cossack lands. After a couple of visits to the meetings he delivered his verdict: They are just another crooks to gain power and money. They don’t care about the Don Cossacks. They are thinking only about money. After this he lost any interest in social life, presented his cossack lash to me and fiddled with his bees. He traded honey, took me on a fishing trips and refused to talk about the Cossacks. Then I had left my native places and went to study in Moscow. Next time I have arrived already at the funeral of my grandfather. For many years I didn’t think about my ancestors. Only at the age of fifty I more and more often began to recall my grandfather’s words. I’ll try to answer every questions that visitors may have via social media networks, and emails. I hope to turn it into a community based site where readers will be able to discuss history and modern problems of the Don Cossacks. If you do not find something on my site, use the contact form to suggest me.
Some photos of the Don Cossacks lands
Old street in Uryupinsk
Just a few steps from the main square of Uryupinsk