Monday, May 23, 2022

    ROCinU mobilizing its “pocket Cossacks”

    The other day a very interesting event took place, which went largely unnoticed, namely the meeting of the so-called 78th Minor and 41st Supreme Cossack Councils under the auspices of the Zaporizhia Cossacks organization.

    That’s according to Ukrainian political and military expert Oleksandr Kovalenko.

    The organization is led by the so-called “hetman” of the Zaporizhia Cossacks, Dmytro Sahaidak. The event was organized with the personal blessing of ROCinU Metropolitan Onufriy and the Governor of the Assumption Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, Metropolitan Pavlo.

    It is worth noting that in addition to the local Cossacks, the event was attended by representatives of the group’s branches in Moldova, Romania, and Germany.

    At first glance, it was just another freak show involving men sporting weird suits but in fact there’s nothing funny about the recent developments.

    I’d like to recall that the so-called “Cossacks”, who are structurally affiliated with the ROC and its branches, were the main strike force in the regions where Russia unfolded destabilization and intervention efforts. The “Cossacks” were the core of the first detachments during the war in Transnistria, they were one of the first to take part in the first Chechen war, they laid the foundation for the occupation of Crimea and part of Donbas. Also, many organizations of Cossacks serve as dormant cells of the aggressor power within Ukraine.

    The so-called Cossack company of the “Great Don Army”, which is part of the territorial defense of the Russian Armed Forces, officially took part in the strategic command and staff exercises “Caucasus 2020”. They also took part in the Crimea occupation and Donbas hostilities from 2014. In 2017, the Pechersk District Court of Kyiv ruled to allow a trial in absentia of the leader of the said armed unit, Mykola Kozitsin.

    At the same time, ties and contacts between the Russian Cossacks and the pro-Russian Cossacks in Ukraine remain at a fairly high level.

    As an example, in 2020 the “Zaporizhia Grassroots Army” opened an office in Melitopol. At first glance, nothing special here, but the thing is that formations allegedly aimed at “protecting public order” immediately started forming around this cell.

    Remarkably, the ZGA is headed by Oleksandr Panchenko, an infamous local who was allegedly supposed to implement the Kremlin’s project to separate the Southeast of Ukraine in 2014, to become the so-called head of the self-styled “Zaporizhzhya People’s Republic,” which luckily never emerged.

    In 2014, Panchenko received direct instructions to destabilize Zaporizhia from Sergei Glazyev, an adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who was dealing with the Zaporizhia issue at the time. It was Panchenko, according to Sergei Glazyev and State Duma MP Konstantin Zatulin’s plans, who had to carry out a coup in Zaporizhia – with the help of his Cossacks. He was set to blockade the city and create a local authority – the regional council – which would pledge allegiance to Russia.

    That is, in fact, it is necessary to keep in mind how dangerous this pro-Russian stratum is.

    And so this “Cossack” mob, under the auspices and cover of the ROC, is going to discuss “the activities of the organization in the current conditions.” What does that “current” mean? A growing threat of another invasion by Russia? The threat of social and political destabilization of Ukraine, in which the ROCinU is also taking part, maintaining the “Montenegrin scenario” in a semi-active phase? A growing threat of provocation at the border and in cities across Ukraine? But what are this organization’s place and role in the face of all these threats?

    It is obvious that the ROCinU did not just convene its pocket “Cossacks” for nothing because, given all the mentioned threats, their actions in the near future may be quite predictable. After all, they will be little different in nature from those that were observed in 2014.