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Russia's Friends Form New 'Cossack Army' in Balkans

A Eurasianet partner post from RFE/RL

BUDVA, Montenegro -- When the commander of the newly created "Balkan Cossack Army" addressed his officers last month, he needed a translator.
 
Self-styled Cossack General Viktor Zaplatin, a Russian, was "unanimously" selected to head the new organization at its founding meeting in the Montenegrin port town of Kotor on September 11.
 
"The Orthodox world is one world," Zaplatin said. "Here we see Serbs, Montenegrins, Russians, and Belarusians."
 
The solemn ceremony was presided over by Serbian Orthodox priest Momchilo Krivokapic and a phalanx of bikers from the pro-Kremlin Russian motorcycle gang Night Wolves -- whose leader, Aleksandr Zaldostanov, is close to President Vladimir Putin.
 
Members of some 26 Cossack organizations attended, each claiming to represent some 50 Cossack "fighters." The organizations were from Serbia, the ethnic Serbian entity of Bosnia-Herzegovina (Republika Srpska), Montenegro, Macedonia, Greece, and Bulgaria. The purpose of the Balkan Cossack Army is unclear, and representatives of the member organizations declined to discuss it with RFE/RL.
 

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Copyright (c) 2016. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

A Eurasianet partner post from RFE/RL

Russia's Friends Form New 'Cossack Army' in Balkans

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