Russia-Belarus border to be patrolled by Cossacks

The first volunteer border guards may appear in Smolensk Oblast.

According to MSPRING.ONLINE, the establishment of Cossack border protection groups is a response to Belarus’ extending visa-free regime to 30 days. The Russian authorities fear that foreigners will be able to enter Russia without being controlled. They also anticipate the overflow of smuggled goods.

Formally, there has been no border control between Belarus and Russia since 1995. In February 2018, after the introduction of a visa-free regime in Belarus, the Russians reconstructed the border zone and stopped third countries citizens who went through Belarus from crossing the Russian border. They sent travelers to the nearest border points in Latvia and Ukraine.

In an interview with the, Russian official Sergei Russkikh failed to give any reasons for the formation of volunteer groups.

“There is a border zone and that’s why such units are being formed,” he said.

According to hm, the Border Service, which is a body of the FSB, keep the process under control.

Such decision is a consequence of various conflicts that have developed between countries, Homiel activist of For Freedom movement Uladzimir Katsyura believes.

Meanwhile, the idea came as a surprise to the residents of border areas.

“No one walks here, there is no need. Only those who pick mushrooms appear,” Syarhei Mahonau, a resident of the Belarusian village of Yanava, said.

“We live peacefully – our dog guards us,” a woman laughed.

Cossack organizations are nationalist groups controlled by the Russian authorities. In addition to being engaged in ‘patriotic’ education and fulfilling orders from above, they are involved in dispersing opposition rallies.

MI, jb/

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