With what could be best described as a historic love/hate relationship between the two, Russia has deployed hundreds of feared Cossack troops to the security heightened city of Sochi, as reported by both CNN and the McClatchy News Service on Jan. 25, 2014.
With the opening ceremonies to the 2014 Winter Olympics in less than two weeks as well as the threat of Islamic Jihad terrorism seemingly growing by the day, Western media has taken notice of the distinctive papakha fleece headgear worn by the ever-increasing number of Cossack troops seen throughout the port city standing guard.
A force to be reckoned with ...
With over a dozen Cossack Hosts (loosely translated: nations or armies), the Hosts vary from the Zaporozhian Cossacks of the Ukraine to the Siberian Cossacks who emigrated there in the 16th century from the area now known as Belarus/western Russia.
The formidable fighters from the south and west of Russian and Ukrainian semi-nomadic tribes have at times fought simultaneously for and against Russia more than once.
In the long history of the former Russian Empire, Cossacks have fought against the Tsars and also for - most notably, as loyal to the end for Tsar Nicholas II and family who were murdered by the Communists after the 1917 Russian Civil War.
During the Second World War, some Cossacks fought for the Germans, greeting them as liberators, while others fought as members of the Red Army fighting as they believed, to protect Mother Russia.
Yet what few will debate present day, the overwhelming majority of the over dozen various Hosts now solidly back the Russian Federation, and even more so, to the Russian Orthodox Church.
Long regarding themselves an unofficial protectors, Cossacks residing in Moscow have gone so far as to form patrols in the southern part of Moscow to protect Russian Orthodox churches in the face of a growing violently anti-Christian Muslim population.
Not strangers to Sochi...
Despite the recent addition of hundreds of more Cossack troops to safeguard against terrorism, roughly 1,000 Cossacks were hired by the government of the Krasnodar region -- where Sochi is located -- "to rein in the surge of illegal immigrants, mostly Muslim."
Reportedly, Krasnodar's Governor Aleksandr Tkachev flatly told Sochi police:
What you cannot do, a Cossack can.