This week, Russia’s Ministry of Justice removed Environmental Watch on the North Caucasus from the list of “foreign agents” because it no longer receives foreign funding. Andrei Rudomakha, the head of this prominent Russian environmental group, heard the news while in a hospital bed – two weeks earlier he had been severely injured in a vicious attack while investigating suspicions of illegal logging in South Russia.

On December 28, Rudomakha and three other environmental activists – Viktor Chirikov, Vera Kholodnaya, and Aleksandr Savelyev – were in a state forest in Krasnodar region, in southern Russia. They took pictures at a site where a private company, allegedly affiliated with high-ranking government officials, is carrying out logging and construction, which the environmentalists believe is illegal.

Late that evening, the activists drove to Krasnodar. Around 10 p.m., they stopped by a colleague’s home. Savelyev went to open the gate to the house, and the other three were standing by the car when unidentified assailants jumped them.

Three men attacked Rudomakha, spewing pepper spray in his face. They knocked him to the ground, and one of the assailants kicked him. They left Rudomakha unconscious and bleeding, pepper-sprayed Chirikov and Kholodnaya, and punched Chirikov in the stomach. Before fleeing, the assailants rifled through the car, taking cameras, tablets, Rudomakha’s identity documents, and some valuables.

The activists immediately called an ambulance and the police, and paramedics took Rudomakha to the hospital. He was diagnosed with traumatic brain injury, multiple facial fractures, brain contusion, as well as a chemical eye burn. Chirikov and Kholodnaya received medical assistance for minor injuries.

Footage from an outdoor surveillance camera recorded the assailants arriving a few hours before the activists. “I’m convinced the attack happened because of our inspection,” said Rudomakha. On December 29, police opened a criminal investigation into robbery, but the assailants have not yet been found.

Last year was Russia’s official Year of Ecology, but conditions for local environmentalists have gone from bad to worse. Since the adoption of the “foreign agents” law in 2012, at least 14 environmental organizations have stopped operating. Many activists suffered harassment. But the attack on Rudomakha and his colleagues stands out for its sheer brutality. The assailants should be held to account. Impunity for this horrid crime cannot but embolden the perpetrators.
[url=ъLeading Environmentalists Violently Attacked in Russia[/url]

Krasnodar is a special place... Traditional heartland of the Cossacks.

That Cossack culture has resurrected there under the long reign of Governor Alexander Tkachev

Tkachev himself a Cossack, has often been seen in full regalia at events (here with Nikolai Daluda, the supreme commander and leader of the Cossacks in the region, as well as the regional Bishop of the Orthodox Church)

Under his rule, Cossack warriors with shashkas (sabers) began once again to stand honour guard at the Governor's palace, much like before the 1917 Revolution

A new palace built in the region, which serves as the Southern residence for Patriarch Kirill, also features Cossack guards

Cossacks have always been strongly loyal to the Church, part of the reason the atheist Bolsheviks later did what they could to crush them...

Now, it has become routine for folks there to witness large formations of ferocious looking Cossacks march through the town at their parades and such

Tkachev is no longer Governor, he is now in Moscow, as Putin's Minister of Agriculture. However, he was allowed to handpick his own successor in Krasnodar, as Putin often lets his trusted friends do; and is said to maintain continuous strong influence over all that goes on in his region.

The successor is also tied to the Cossacks, I believe (himself is not one, I believe, but is under their control, nonetheless) and continued Tkachev's policies.

Among other things, Cossacks now (again, like in the Romanov era), patrol the streets in many communities in Krasnodar region, sometimes alongside, but often INSTEAD of regular Russian police

And, yeah, their main task, as above, is to check Central Asian migrant labourers (who comes there to work on the farms) and those from neighbouring Muslim regions of Northern Caucasus, other people who don't look white/Slavic, and ensure these inferior "darkies", like me, know our fucking place...

Putin doesn't mind them, because they are fanatically loyal to him, see him as the new Tsar and Emperor

and they've supplied him no shortage of well trained fighters for Donbass and Syria too

After all, these folks believe their sacred task is to defend Russia, as the Orthodox Christian holy empire, and that's all they do in their lives, train to fight since they are young, and then go join every war Putin starts everywhere, to defend Russia's interests... or whatever...

And they don't like the environmentalists either.

In 2016, for example, some guys from Greenpeace found it out the hard way, they went to rural Krasnodar, a group of volunteers, wanted to help fight some forest fires there; and were stopped by a Cossack checkpoint, who told them their own forces were handling things just fine, and to fuck off, probably pretty much in that kind of language; and when the Greenpeace people tried to object, the Cossacks proceeded to beat the hell out of them and smash up their van

This latest thing could be Cossacks too. Or some other local thugs working for the corrupt officials. Who knows...