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Thu Oct 30 20:17:43 SAST 2014

Russia's Cossacks start patrolling Moscow streets

Sapa-AP | 27 November, 2012 14:16
Russian Cossacks march during a ceremonial review prior to the upcoming visit of Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill in Stavropol, November 17, 2012.
Image by: EDUARD KORNIYENKO / REUTERS

Renowned for their sword-fighting prowess and notorious for their anti-Semitism in czarist Russia, the Cossacks are taking on new foes: beggars, drunks, and improperly parked cars.

The Kremlin has sought to use the once-feared paramilitary squads, which spearheaded czarist Russia's expansion, in its new drive to promote conservative values and lure nationalists.

Eight Cossacks clad in traditional fur hats and uniforms patrolled a Moscow train station on Tuesday looking for signs of minor public disturbances.

The patrol, approved by the authorities, is a test-run on whether the group can become an armed and salaried auxiliary police force, like the Texas Rangers, with the power of arrest, patrol leader Igor Gurevich said.

"We're like Chuck Norris!" Gurevich said.

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