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Cossack (Russian Kazak (Казак); plural, Kazaki (Казаки), Polish Kozak; plural, Kozacy, from the Turkish quzzaq, "adventurer", "free-booter"), is the name given to a portion of the population of Eastern Europe. Cossacks inhabited parts of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union, particularly in areas now comprising southern Russia and the Ukraine.

Traditionally endowed with certain special privileges, Cossacks had in return to give military service, all at a certain age, under special conditions.

Table of contents
1 Russian Cossacks
2 Ukrainian Cossacks
3 The Cossack Image
4 Related article

Russian Cossacks

Main article: History of Cossacks



Valuing the relative freedom they enjoyed in Imperial Russia, the Cossacks mainly fought against Bolsheviks in the Russian Civil War of 1919, both within the White Army and as partisans.

At the same time, many poor Cossacks also joined the Red Army. This notwithstanding, after the victory of the Soviet Communists, the new regime repressed the Cossack culture and way of life. During the Nazi invasion of the USSR the Cossacks once again joined the opposing sides of the conflict. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, efforts to revive the Cossack traditions have grown.

Ukrainian Cossacks

External article: Ukrainian Cossacks (in Encyclopedia of Ukraine)



''External article:
Ukrainian Cossacks

The Cossack Image

Cossacks have long appealed to romantics as idealising freedom and resistance to external authority, and their military exploits against enemies of the Russian people have contributed to this favorable image. On the other hand they have often become a symbol of repression because of their use in suppressing popular uprisings during the Tsarist period.

Literary reflections of Cossack culture abound in Russian literature: one might particularly mention the work of Leo Tolstoy and of Mikhail Aleksandrovich Sholokhov.

Related article