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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Law Creates Ruling Body For Cossacks

President Boris Yeltsin has created a special authority for troops drawn from Russia's traditional Cossack movement, revived in the post-Soviet era.

Yeltsin issued a decree Saturday setting up the authority, made up of 35 people, "to improve the interaction and coordination of executive authority and Cossack communities."

Russia's leadership views the Cossacks, tens of thousands strong and based mainly in southern Russia's Don valley, as a force to counteract the influence of separatists in Chechnya.

Cossacks helped police in trying to control the movements of Chechen fighters during last year's hostage-taking in the southern Russian town of Budyonnovsk.

Both Russian and Ukrainian authorities have proposed integrating Cossacks into border guard units.