KRASNODAR, July 19 (RIA Novosti) - About 300 Cossack volunteers will help enforce law and order during the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, a regional official said Friday.
Krasnodar Territory, where Sochi is located, was the first to set up official Cossack squads last September. About 1,300 Cossacks currently help law enforcement.
The Cossacks, who originally hailed from the southern border areas of Russia and are known for their social conservatism, were used to ruthlessly quell popular rebellion in tsarist times and were repressed under the Soviets.
They are currently regaining a semi-official role in Russian public life and sometimes carry out self-appointed vigilante police duties which are now becoming officially authorized in some places in Russia, including Moscow.
Krasnodar Territory Deputy Governor Dzhambulat Khatuov said Cossack-police collaboration has been very effective, with Cossacks helping solve 283 crimes and detaining 68 suspects in the region in the first six months of this year.
“That is an unprecedented experience in which many of our colleagues from other parts of Russia are showing interest,” he said.
Cossack squads patrol streets and public places in traditional uniforms together with police; they may check IDs and take suspects to police stations.