They’re not just for Jews anymore, as members of Pussy Riot found out when they were shooting a video in Sochi.
The Cossacks, descended from czarist-era horsemen who patrolled the borders of the Russian empire, are remembered historically for leading pogroms against Jews. Today they are socially conservative and ardent supporters of the Russian Orthodox Church. Recently, they have been revived as a sort of volunteer citizen patrol, and about 800 of them have supplemented the police providing security for the Winter Games here. On patrol, they often wear military-style jackets and high lambskin hats.
Pussy Riot have already released a music video featuring the attack.
The New Republic’s Julia Ioffe translates the lyrics.
It’s possible to question the value of such self-promoting stunts while also believing that attacking non-violent people with whips is repugnant.