Krasnodar, 14 June – Yug Times. For many years, the Chelbassky Cossack Community of the Kuban Cossack Host has been the driving force of development of their stanitsa (village).
Nikolai Klimenko has been serving as the Ataman (head) of the Chelbassky Cossack Community for twelve years. The Community unites more than 100 hereditary Cossacks that serve hand and foot to their fellow-villagers. It owns 50 hectares of arable land. The money made from selling of cereals is spent for social projects. The support of the local equestrian school is one of them. Nikolai Klimenko was born and grew up in the village of Chelbasskaya. From his boyhood, he attended the local equestrian afterschool club together with his grandfather. The equestrian sport was so bold, beautiful and enchanting that it soon became Nikolai’s main hobby. However, then he could not imagine that it would become his fate. “A Cossack without a horse and sabre is not a real Cossack,” says Ataman Klimenko. That was why he, a descendant of an old Cossack kin, had decided to restore the equestrian school in his native village.
But Klimenko’s enthusiasm goes far beyond sports. It is spiritual and moral upbringing of the younger generation that he sees as one of his main tasks. He initiated the foundation of the Chelbassky Cossack Choir, directed by the Kuban composer Aleksei Garnaga. Orthodox upbringing also occupies an important place in his activities.
“The Cossacks’ mighty spirit was born by our faith,” says Klimenko. “This is why the Chelbassky Cossack Community had for several years been taking part in the construction of the church [in our stanitsa]. We supported the construction financially and with our labour. Last year, the construction completed - and it was a big holiday for us.”
It is people’s ability to revere their ancestors’ memory that makes them spiritually and morally alive, believes Ataman Klimenko. This is why every year he organizes the procession of the so-called ‘Immortal Regiment’ on the V-Day: local Cossacks together with other villagers march in columns with portraits of their heroic ancestors.
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