BUGAY N.F. The Russian Cossacks and the Problem of Identity with the Question: Who Are We?

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2019.4.13

Nikolai F. Bugay

Doctor of Sciences (History), Professor, Chief Researcher,

Institute of Russian History, Russian Academy of Sciences,

Dm. Ulyanova St., 19, 117292 Moscow, Russian Federation

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Abstract. Introduction. On August 29, 2013, director of the Department of State National Policy in the Sphere of Inter-Ethnic Relations of the Ministry of Regional Development A. Zhuravskiy answered to the question “Are Cossacks a People?” in the interview with the Cossack Information Centre the following: “The issue of Cossack identity is associated with the success of the state policy of the Russian Federation in relation to the Russian Cossacks. Only specific and effective work on implementing existing conceptual and strategic documents can help overcome the crisis of Cossack identity.” In the conditions of revival of the Russian Cossacks in the 1990s – 2000s, the issue of its identity becomes relevant. The fact is that identity continues to be the basis in solving many problems of arranging the Cossacks as its consolidating component.

Methods and materials. The article is based on the principle of historicism, balance in reflecting the characteristics of the Russian Cossacks, chronological sequence of presentation, objectivism. The main source base, first of all, are the regulatory legal acts of the 1990s and the subsequent time. The author was directly involved in developing many of these legal acts at the governmental level.

Analysis. Obviously, in the 1990s – 2000s, the problem of identity in modern conditions acquired a global character. The author not coincidentally adresses to the international practice as applied to other peoples. In this connection, the author pays attention to the interpretation of the issue according to the “power and the Cossacks” vector, which is confirmed by the specific material set forth, especially on the participation of Cossacks in modern life in Russia. Despite the fact that much has already been set forth in terms of social, cultural identity as its most accessible types, nevertheless, there is a particular need to study such types of identity as national and territorial ones, which in the modern framework determine the position of the Cossacks in society, its relation to peoples who lived for centuries or jointly. Studying territorial identity will be valuable as well due to the fact that the land for a Cossack’s household remained a priority problem in terms of household management and his military service.

Results. Probably, these three dimensions: success of the economic sector, conceptuality in presentation, consideration of the strategy verified by life experience, all sorts of practices will form a solid basis for further studying the problem of the Cossack identity. This will determine the study of other existing types of identity in relation to the Russian Cossacks. At all times, the Cossacks remained adherents of the religion of identity, patriotism, military service, etc. Knowledge of the problem of identity in relation to the Russian Cossacks expands the range of knowledge of society on the history of the Cossacks, both in the past and in the conditions of modernity.

Key words: Cossacks, Russia, identification, national aspect, consolidation, economy, culture, territory, security.

Citation. Bugay N.F. The Russian Cossacks and the Problem of Identity with the Question: Who Are We? Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 4. Istoriya. Regionovedenie. Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. History. Area Studies. International Relations], 2019, vol. 24, no. 4, pp. 148-163. (in Russian). DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2019.4.13.

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The Russian Cossacks and the Problem of Identity with the Question: Who Are We? by Bugay N.F. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. 

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