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Cossacks to Police North Caucasus Migrants

The governor of the southern Krasnodar region on Friday called for local Cossacks to police migrants from the Northern Caucasus.

Cossacks, an Eastern Slavic people whose roots lie in quasi-militaristic communities in southern Russia and Ukraine, fiercely upheld the tsarist state during the Russian Civil War.

That allegiance was met with extensive repression and food shortages following the Red Army's victory. The Soviet dissolution has led to a revival of Cossack culture.

Governor Alexander Tkachyov said at a meeting of senior police officials that "we have to clamp down [on Caucasus migrants], to bring order and check documents."

Alexander Sokolov, a member of the Public Chamber, claimed that the governor's statement could be construed as extremist.

Tkachyov "considers the Northern Caucasus regions to be foreign entities and has called for defense against them using illegal armed units," Sokolov said Friday, RBC reported.

The regional administration said the task force, which would consist of 1,000 Cossacks and be formed by September, would be unarmed.

The officers would get a monthly salary of 25,000 rubles ($800), the administration said on its website Thursday.

Deputy Interior Minister Sergei Gerasimov supported the initiative, Lenta.ru reported Friday. Alexander Beglov, head of the presidential council on Cossack affairs, has not publicly commented on the proposal.

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