Ataman-in-Chief of the World Union of Cossack Atamans

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The Ataman is elected by the Cossacks at the General Assembly (Bolshoy Krug) for 5 years and cannot hold the position more than twice. In 2012 Yuriy Zakharov was elected Ataman and in 2017 re-elected for the second term in tribute to the work he has done, and results achieved during these years.

Yuriy Zakharov, of repressed Cossack family background, was born in Altai, Russia in 1951. His grandfather Aphanassy Zakharov was executed by the Bolsheviks in 1921 in Oskolkovo, Altay.

In 1978 graduated the Kazakh State University as journalist, and later graduated the Higher School of Politics and Kazakh Institute of Physical Culture. A natural philanthropist, since early manhood he has had an urge to help people to live a better life. Being apt to do business organized fellow students for work during summer holidays, being able to make some profit even in soviet times, helped his friends and fellow students with anything he could. Later founded several enterprises that provide people with jobs and carry out vast sponsoring and charity activity. Yuriy gave financial assistance to the Muslim community of North Kazakhstan in building three mosques, refurbished and reconstructed orthodox churches in Northern and Southern Kazakhstan. Till now Ataman Zakharov donates a greater part of his personal and family income to the Russian and Cossack organizations. Unfortunately, much speculation and vicious insinuations are incessantly filling out the Internet news and publications discrediting our achievements and good work. With the amount of corruption and total phobias increasing interference of special services in many spheres of present life, when national resources hardly ever reach the people, and when even those in the lower echelons of power who receive the little something to support the compatriots leave it all for their personal wellbeing, that is understandable – «The best defense is a good offense».

Yuriy Zakharov has led the Russian Commune of Kazakhstan since 1994, in May 2006 was elected chairman of the Coordination Council of Russian, Cossack and Slavic organizations of Kazakhstan, and in September 2006 – Ataman-in-Chief of Kazakhstani Cossacks. During these years he redeemed a building of the Russian Cultural Centre in Almaty mortgaged by his rogue predecessor. Mr Zakharov has given the building back to the Russian community of Almaty as a present.

Since 1995 a member of the Council of the Kazakhstan People’s Assembly, then by the Decree of President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Head of the Assembly, was appointed Deputy Chairman of the Assembly for one year. In early 90s was one of the founders of the International Congress of Russian Communities.

Our organization was visited by Knut Vollebaek, OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities and his envoys. Took part in a meeting with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, as well as Lyudmila Putin, president of "Russian language" fund and former Russian Prime Minister Yevgeniy Primakov, Alexander Krutov, president of the International Fund for Slavic Literature and Culture and many other foreign statesmen. For many years, he is friends with the old emigres in France, the US and the UK. Ataman Zakharov travelled a lot in the hot regions of Serbia, Ukraine representing a peacekeeping people’s diplomacy.

In 2015 Nursultan Nazarbayev awarded Yuriy Zakharov with the Order Dostyk, in 2005 – the Order Kurmet, as well as many medals and Letters of Commendation for activities in consolidation of peace and interethnic concordance, and interstate relations with the CIS countries and abroad. He was awarded with the Order of Holy Prince Daniel of Moscow and the Order of Saint Righteous Grand Duke Dmitry Donskoy, and Letter of Commendation of His Holiness Alexis II Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia for building churches and strengthening Russian-Kazakhstani friendship. Ataman Zakharov holds many other national and non-governmental awards of Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine, Belorussia and the USA, including St. Anna’s order of the Cossacks of America.

He holds a degree in journalism from the Kazakh National University. Honorary Academician of the International Informatization Academy (Almaty, Kazakhstan), Honorary Academician of the International Academy of the Cossacks (Kiev, Ukraine), Honorary Master of the International Academy of Economics and Social Sciences (Rome, Italy). Officer in reserve, air defence forces. Formerly an all-round sportsman, candidate Master of Sports in boxing, and a holder of the first grade in classical and freestyle wrestling and weightlifting.

Yuriy Zakharov is the only non-governmental leader who entertained official support of the elders from the North Kazakhstan regions and prominent public figures and statesmen of our country, Olzhas Suleymenov, Murat Auezov, Mels Eleussizov, Khassen Koshakhmet among them, who sent a letter to the Office of the President in the run-up to the elections to the Senate.

His latest efforts and financial investments resulted in Cossacks in Kazakhstan receiving a historical building dating back to the XIX century, which is the best not only in our country, but also in the CIS, Cossack cultural center.

A true Cossack he strives for the united Russian world, passionately loves his historical motherland Russia and feels for its failures.

In Kazakhstan, our today’s fatherland, our triune people: Russian, Belarusian and Ukrainian, as the Triune God: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit represent more than a third of the population that for over twenty-five years now supports the policy of the Leader of the Nation Nazarbayev aimed at peace and harmony between peoples.

We pride ourselves in several outstanding musical troupes – ensemble “Zvonnitsa-Naslediye” (in English translation – Belfry Heritage), which is one of the best groups performing national Cossack songs and dances is among them, famous sportsmen and glorious singers.

For the courage and resilience shown by Ataman Zakharov throughout most heated years of his activities he is respected by many honourable people of various origin and social status, both home and abroad.