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The Cossacks who beat up anti-Putin demonstrators might be on Moscow's payroll

Source: Meduza

The men dressed as Cossacks who beat up protesters at Saturday’s anti-Putin rally may be on Moscow City Hall’s payroll, according to the newsletter The Bell. For the past three years, their “army” has received 15.9 million rubles (more than $255,000) in public funds for services that include “ensuring public security during mass events.”

What’s the big deal? Cossacks have attacked anti-Kremlin protesters before (and police often look the other way), but it would qualify as a “political innovation” if the state is actually contracting these groups to bully opposition demonstrators.