World's dumbest conflict... info
Ethnic conflict involving Cossacks in Sverdlovsk oblast (Ural mountain region) |
Two houses burnt to the ground in half-Cossack half-Russian village, Sulyom. First one belonged to Cossack Ataman Dmitry Sitnikov, other to ethnic Russian head of... local administration, Ivan Kazakov.
There are different versions of events, but this is the basic account. In 2007, two Ural Cossack clans, the Sitnikovs and their 3 children, and the Bobenkovs, and their 7, settled in the village. They surrounded their new 'khutor' with a high wall, and built two houses next to each other, and set to live their lives there breeding live stock, raising their young ones, and following the word of God as good, Christian Cossacks do. They avoided any sort of friendly contact with the local population, considering them 'drunken, Godless scum'.
The first conflict happened when a local boy, aged 13, tried to romance the Bobenkovs' 12 year old daughter, Alena. The head of that family, also named Dmitry, first chased away the young man, telling him his daughter is a Cossack girl and is not for the likes of him, and then threatened his father and elder brother with a rifle when they confronted him at the gate to the Cossack compound.
The next incident was when the Cossack demanded the locals shut down a beer kiosk that was too near their khutor for them. After Sitnikov and Bobenkov came over to the kiosk to make their demand, there was a scuffle between them and several locals, including Kazakov and his son. The fight ended badly for the locals. Dmitry Sitnikov, a Specnaz veteran, and kickboxing champion broke younger Kazakov's jaw, while Bobenkov stabbed two other men with a knife he apparently had kidden in his pocket. They also smashed much of the kiosk's produce.
It was after that fight that someone managed to climb over their fence and set fire to Ataman Sitnikov's family home. His wife managed to get teh children out in time, but they lost much posessions in the fire.
Not long after, Kazakov's house was burnt down similarly, and he was injured trying to battle the flames.
Local police head, Major Said Abitov, said he is at a loss what to do: "I do not want to take sides here. Alienating the locals is bad. But so is crossing with the Cossacks..."
Ataman Sitnikov, meanwhile, is already rebuilding his home. His wife and children stay with the Babenkovs for now. Sitnikov says the settlement will only grow with time, as several large Cossack families from Volgograd will soon be coming to settle with them.
"We are Cossacks," says Sitnikov, "we fear none, particularly drunken animals. This land is our land. We will take it. If they try to go against us again, they will face the consequences."
Meanwhile, they will build a taller wall around their compound, with barbed wire on top. And both Dmitrys regularly go on armed patrols around the property, along with 16 year old Ilya Babenkov.
Why can't we all just get along...