ROSTOV ON DON, November 26 (Itar-Tass) —— Russia’s Cossack Party will run ion regional elections, including to the Rostov Region Legislative Assembly, in 2013, party leader Sergei Bondarev, who is also Rostov Region deputy governor, said.
“The main goal of the new Cossack Party of the Russian Federation (CoPRF) is to participate in the political life of the country,” he said at a press conference on Monday, November 26.
The party plans to open branches in all of the 83 Russian regions. The party will be financed out of membership fees. According to Bondarev, some 7-8 million people may join the party.
Seven hundred people have already joined it, thus making it possible to register it. The whole process will take several months to complete.
Bondarev believes that the party will consolidate Cossacks’ potential as there was no such political party up to date.
The Cossack Party of the Russian Federation was created at its founding congress in Moscow Region on Saturday, November 24.
Bondarev was unanimously elected its chairman with only one vote of 97 delegates cast against.
The party programme is based on the traditional Cossack values: patriotism, protection of public interests and moral principles of society.
“Cossacks have always guarded the interests of the country, they have always advocated construction and preservation of the Russian Federation,” Bondarev said.
It is for this reason that the party’s name (CoPRF) contains an abbreviation of the Russian Federation. Bondarev believes that voters won’t mix up Cossacks with communists (CPRF) as the party’s ideology is not left-winged. “I would like to ask you not to consider us either right or left because we are straight,” he said.
About 7 million people in Russia, mainly in southern regions, consider themselves Cossacks. However Bondarev could not say how many members the party would have. “The party has been created not only for Cossacks, but also for [all] citizens of Russia,” he said, adding that under its charter it “is open to representatives of different ethnic groups and faiths”.
According to Bondarev, the party will seek to “to create conditions for the participation of the Cossacks in political life, to bring the Cossacks’ opinion to society and to ensure interaction with the authorities”.
Representatives of 46 regions attended the congress. Bondarev said that in the next several months the party would seek to register regional branches so that it would be able to run in elections in September 2013. However, he stressed that the decision on where the Cossacks should nominate their candidates will be made after serious analysis of the situation on a case by case basis. “We won’t do it just to bring shame upon ourselves. Cossacks are not like that,” Bondarev said.
The activity of Russian Cossacks is regulated by several laws, including “On Civil Service of the Russian Cossacks”. The strategy for development of state policy with regard to the Russian Cossacks up to 2020 was adopted this autumn. The Council for Cossack Affairs has been created within the presidential administration.
The congress ended with a prayer held by Father Ily of Optina.