Attitudes Toward Punk Band Rioters in Russia After Protest in Church, and Actions of Cossacks Stopping Public Protests

CNN’s Phil Black reports on Pussy Riot, the all-girl punk band that has challenged Vladimir Putin and divided Russia.

The trial of the female punk band, Pussy Riot, has resumed in Moscow after a weekend recess. With public opinion over the controversial case divided, the question on everyone’s lips is just what the verdict will be.

Pussy Riot gets whipped in Sochi by Cossacks during attempt at protest performance near the sea port.

The Registered Cossacks of the Russian Federation are the Cossack paramilitary formation (public) carrier state and other service on the basis of the Federal Law of the Russian Federation dated December 5, 2005 “On State Service of the Russian Cossacks”. Municipal level Cossack police (including Special Forces) operate numerous Cossack guard formations. Registered Cossacks are granted certain privileges, such as rank; insignia and awards; and the possession and wearing of a Cossack whip, sword, dagger, and for some firearms.

Ethnic or “born” Cossacks are those who can trace, or claim to trace, their ancestry to people and families identified as Cossacks in the Tsarist era. Cossacks tend to be Christian, practicing as Orthodox Christians or Old Believers. This group includes the edinovertsy, who identify as Slavic.


Arrangement between certain Russian Old Believer communities and the official Russian Orthodox Church, whereby the communities are treated as a part of the normative Orthodox Church system, while maintaining their own traditional rites.

Old Believers are Eastern Orthodox Christians who maintain the liturgical and ritual practices of the Eastern Orthodox Church as they existed prior to the reforms of Patriarch Nikon of Moscow between 1652 and 1666.

Alternatively, people can be initiated as Cossacks, particularly men in military service. Such initiates may be neither ethnic Slavic nor Christian in religion. Some do not believe initiates should be considered Cossack. There is no consensus on an initiation rite or rules.

In other cases, individuals may put on a Cossack uniform and pretend to be one, perhaps because there is a large ethnic Cossack population in the area and the person wants to fit in. Others adopt Cossack clothing to try to take on some of their mythic status. Ethnic Cossacks refer to the re-enactors as ryazhenye or “dressed up phonies”

According to Russia’s Population Census 2010, there are 67,573 people who identify as being ethnic Cossacks in Russia, while between 3.5 and 5 million people associate themselves with the Cossack identity in Europe and across the world. However, because of the lack of consensus on how to define Cossacks, accurate population figures are not available.