MOSCOW, November 26 (RIA Novosti) – Moscow’s Cossacks plan to expand their law-and-order patrols to the central part of the capital starting on Tuesday.
Until now, Cossack patrolmen have been active only in southeastern Moscow. During a trial run on Tuesday, they will help their colleagues in central Moscow patrol near the Belorusskaya metro station, the administration of the southeastern district said on its website on Monday.
“In concert with law enforcement officials, the Cossacks will uphold law and order and prevent illegal parking and unlicensed business activity” on the streets of central Moscow, the statement said.
Earlier this month the media first reported – and City Hall denied – that Cossack patrols were coming to downtown Moscow’s Tverskaya Street.
The Cossack patrollers are self-styled descendants of the tsar’s horsemen, originally a separatist ethnicity in Russia and Ukraine. Unlike the police, they cannot actually enforce the law, but they can raise the alarm when they discover criminal activity, ride around on horseback and wear traditional costumes.
Backed by the government and Russian Orthodox Church officials, the Cossack movement has recently experienced a growing revival.
In August, Krasnodar region governor Alexander Tkachyov announced a plan to hire Cossacks to help police target illegal migrants from neighboring Muslim regions.
Last week Rostov Region deputy governor Sergei Bondarev was elected the leader of the newly formed Cossack Party of the Russian Federation. In addition, some five other Cossack-related parties have registration pending with the Justice Ministry.