Astrakhan Cossack Host

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Astrakhan Cossack Host

 

created in 1817; made up of cossacks of the Lower Volga region, who had performed sentry service on the Volga since Astrakhan was annexed to Russia in 1556. In 1737 a command of three sotnias (squadrons) was formed in Astrakhan to convoy couriers, the mails, and the sentry forces. On March 28, 1750, it was reorganized as the Astrakhan Five-Sotnias Regiment, which was settled on the right bank of the Volga from Astrakhan to Chernyi Iar. In the early 19th century, the Tsaritsyn, Kamyshin, and Saratov cossack commands, the remaining Volga cossacks, and some Kalmyks and Tatars were added to the regiment. In 1817 the regiment—which consisted of 16 sotnias—was reorganized as the Astrakhan cossack host, with three regiments.

In 1833 the host was withdrawn from the jurisdiction of the Caucasian Corps and placed under the Astrakhan governor, who became its appointed hetman. In 1872 it was divided into two sections; one cavalry regiment replaced the previous three. The host occupied four stanitsas (large cossack villages) near Tsaritsyn, Saratov, Chernyi Iar, and Krasnyi Iar; 16 yurt stanitsas; and 57 farmsteads. Its land supply amounted to 808,000 desiatinas (881,000 hectares), 706,000 of which were in the stanitsas. It numbered about 40,000 people (1916). In peacetime the host had one cavalry regiment (four sotnias) and one guards platoon; in wartime it had three cavalry regiments (12 sotnias), one guards platoon, one artillery battery, and one special and one reserve sotnia (2,600 people in all). It took part in the Patriotic War of 1812, the Russo-Turkish wars of the 19th century, and World War I. During the Civil War, much of the host passed over to the side of counterrevolution and participated in the attacks on Astrakhan. In October and November 1919 the White Guards near Astrakhan were smashed, and in 1920 the Astrakhan Cossack Host was finally liquidated.

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