The Cossack groups present at the anti-Putin protest in Moscow on May 5 have reportedly “flogged” those in their ranks responsible for attacking demonstrators with whips, according to Vasily Yashchikov, who’s been cited repeatedly in the Russian media as a “Cossack blogger.” Yashchikov says the Cossack groups held a joint meeting and decided to punish the individuals who used whips on May 5.
“We came together, drew our conclusions, and discussed how it could have come to this. Clearly, there were provocateurs, but we nonetheless punished those who fought back with whips. We punished them according to our own Cossack customs and traditions. We flogged them. They got the whip so they’ll know better next time,” Yashchikov said Wednesday on the radio station Business FM.
On May 5, groups of Cossacks fought and harassed opposition demonstrators at Pushkin Square (sometimes with whips), as police officers mostly looked the other way. Journalists later discovered that Moscow City Hall has signed several contracts with Cossack organizations to “ensure public safety” at mass rallies. City officials insist, however, that they didn’t call on the Cossack groups to disperse the May 5 protesters. Yashchikov calls himself a member of “The First Hundred,” referring to an organization whose uniforms were spotted at Pushkin Square on May 5.