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Modern Nagykas.

Pussy Riot attacked with whips by police at Sochi (warning: nonconsensual M/F beating)

A Nagyka, nagaika, or nagayka (Russian: нага́йка; pronounced [nɐˈɡajkə]) is a short, thick whip with round cross-section used by Cossacks, borrowed from Nogai people, hence the original name "nogaika", or "Nogai's whip". The nagyka was made out of leather strips by braiding. It was possible to have piece of metal at the tip of the whip.


The main purpose of a nagyka was to urge a horse. A metal piece was used for defense against wolves. According to Vladimir Dahl's "Explanatory Dictionary of the Live Great Russian language", this nagayka was called volkoboy (волкобой, "wolf-slayer").

In modern times the descriptions of the military use of nagyka tend to be mythologized, and in the past the prime and predominant use was to drive horse. At the same time nagyka was known to be used against unarmed people, e.g., for corporal punishment or to disperse public disorders (e.g., during Russian Revolutions), so that a cossack with nagayka has become a symbol of tsarist oppression.

In 2005 the Cossacks were reformed and armed with nagykas in addition to other traditional weapons. In 2014, Members of Pussy Riot were attacked by Cossacks wielding nagykas and pepper spray while protesting.


A German spanking cartoon from 1854 featuring a Polish kamcha-wielding barber.

The Nagyka is also called камча, kamcha from the Turkish word "kamçı" for "whip", but the latter word is also used for short whips of Central Asian origin. While nagykas are usually single-tailed, kamchas can also be multi-tailed. In other languages, the kamcha is called kańczug (Polish), kančuch (Czech), or Kantschu (German). By these names is also associated with the Cossacks and with military, judicial and domestic brutality and oppression.

See also[edit]

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