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Volodymyr Komar, Adam Szymanowicz
Published: 1 January 2019
Kyiv Historical Studies , Volume 3, pp 17-26; doi:10.28925/2524-0757.2019.1.2

Abstract: During the civil war in Russia in 1918–1921, the liberation efforts of the Cossacks of Don, Kuban, and Terek were unsuccessful, and their lands were incorporated into the USSR. Their representatives emigrating from their homeland found themselves in difficult material conditions. While in exile, many of them cooperated with Polish and German authorities. Interwar Poland was interested in the use of the Cossacks in the fight against the USSR. The General Staff of the Polish Armed Forces showed particular interest in the Free Cossack movement, as Don, Kuban, and Terek areas were the main places where the Red Army cavalry was formed.The Cossacks who stayed in their homeland experienced tragic times. The introduction of Soviet power also brought with it the elimination of the Cossacks through hunger, repressions, and deportations. However, at the end of the 1930s, the Soviet authorities introduced a new course of policy towards the Cossacks, thereby recognizing the advantages of Cossack military formations in the Red Army. At the beginning of the German-Soviet War in August 1941, the Soviet authorities formed sixteen Cossack cavalry divisions, six of which were immediately sent to the front.During World War II tens of thousands of the Cossacks also fought in German formations on the territory of the USSR. They were used mainly for anti-partisan actions. Due to the support of the Germans, the so-called Cossack State consisting of tens of thousands of Cossacks was created for the refugees from Don. They fought against partisans in Belarus, Poland, Yugoslavia, and Italy. After the capitulation of the Third Reich, the Cossack State, as well as other Cossack formations, found itself on the territory of Austria, and the Cossacks were taken into British captivity. As a result of the British-Soviet agreement, they were turned over to the Soviet authorities, from whose hands death or at best deportation to the camps awaited them.In addition, Cossack military formations were formed in the Far East with the support of Japan, which used them to fight against the USSR.
Keywords: USSR / Military / war / Poland / Don / German / deportation / Soviet / fight / Cossacks

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