United Russia speaks for official status of Cossacks

The United Russia party comes out for the soonest adoption of the bill on the state service of Russian Cossacks, Russian Interior Minister Boris Gryzlov, the chairman of the United Russia Supreme Council, said at the meeting with Cossack atamans (leaders) on Saturday.

Russia needs Cossacks' potential and it needs revival and enhancement," Gryzlov stressed. According to him, Cossacks "who have always been the stronghold of our borders should be fully demanded by the state." "Today Cossacks are taking an active part in the protection of public order, Russia's borders and natural resources," Gryzlov noted. Russia's Armed Forces have 15 units, 42 frontier posts and 16 ships manned with Cossacks, he added.

Gryzlov also came out for the adoption of the concept of state policy on Cossacks and a federal target program on the Cossack state service.

Ataman of the Don Cossacks Viktor Volodatsky handed to Gryzlov a gold medal commemorating the 250th anniversary of the birth of ataman Matvei Platov, a hero of the 1812 war against Napoleon's France. Cossacks also presented Gryzlov with a Cossack traditional felt cloak and hat.

Cossacks are a historic cultural-ethnic community which appeared in Russia's border areas. They have original cultural traditions, traditional clothing, economic structure and historic relations with the state. In the past Cossacks were a special military class.

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