Cossacks, Ethnic Armenians Clash in Southern Russia

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Date: Wed, 14 Jun 2000 08:31:12 +0200 (EET)
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Subject: Cossacks, Ethnic Armenians Clash in Southern Russia

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Cossacks, Ethnic Armenians Clash in Southern Russia

June 12, 2000
Cossacks, Ethnic Armenians Clash in Southern Russia Says Armenian News
A squabble between teenagers in Anapskiy District of Russia's
Krasnodar Territory has escalated into a conflict between the local
Cossack and Armenian population. Mediamax news agency has learnt from
Yerkramas', an Armenian newspaper published in Krasnodar Territory,
that it all started with a fight between teenagers of various
nationalities in the village of Varvarovka in Anapskiy District, when
a 13-year-old Armenian boy hit a 17-year-old German boy on the head
with a stick. As a result of the injury the latter died two days after
the incident.
The Cossacks decided to intervene in this incident. In connection with
this Anapa's law-enforcement agencies urgently organized a meeting
between representatives of the Armenian cultural center of Anapa and
the Cossack atamans [chieftains]. The participants discussed ways to
prevent interethnic conflicts.
However, this did not avert an escalation. A group of people in
camouflage uniforms arrived in the Armenian village of Gaykadzor in
the evening and beat up four locals with truncheons. Eyewitnesses say
that the visiting Cossack column consisted of 15 vehicles. The
conflict continued over the next few days. "People of Caucasian
origin" disappeared from markets and Armenian cafes became empty.
The ataman of the Kuban [historical name of Krasnodar Territory]
Cossacks, Vladimir Gromov, commented on the event: "I did not look
into this issue in full. Both Cossack and Armenian delegates are
visiting me every day. It is still too early to draw final
conclusions. But it would be better for the Armenians if they realized
on whose land they are living. It is impossible to imagine that
Russians would behave like that in Armenia. Namely, all trade is
currently concentrated in the hands of Caucasians. This causes tension
among the people."

The chairman of the Association of Armenian Public Organizations of
Krasnodar Territory, Martiros Oganesyan, said: "These events have no
ethnic background. Armenians and Russians have lived together here for
many decades. Elections of the atamans are approaching and the
Cossacks are not as homogenous as it seems. They have several
conventional parties, including a 'war party'. If someone wants to
become ataman he needs to win a minor 'war' in order to boost his own
prestige. There is only one solution for this kind of situation: the
law must prevail".
BBC Monitoring/(C) BBC

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