Abstract. The territory plays an important role in the history of a community. In the process of the territory development a complicated relationship between the community and the territory arises. During historical development, specific social, cultural and political characteristics of the community emerge. Those characteristics are based on the territorial resource. The formation and development of Don Cossacks took place in the specific steppe region. The territory factor affected political and social processes of Don Cossacks. The territory significance was revealed in the Cossacks revival processes at the turn of the century as well. This paper aims at determination of the role of the territory in the Don Cossacks development both in the historical and modern contexts. The urgency of the research work comes from the necessity to determine the significant territory characteristics that shape the development of Don Cossacks as a local community. The paper distinguishes various aspects of the relationship between the Cossack community and their territory. Also, it analyses the political, economic, social and cultural aspects of the relationship between the community and the territory in different historical periods. The research novelty is to establish the interrelation between the 20th century territorial transformations and the social and cultural changes of Cossacks as a social and territorial community. The research work is based on laws, regulation and office documentation, and on statistical and opinion polls data. The methodological basis of the study is the historical-comparative method, as well as the concept of socio-cultural construction.
Keywords: Don Cossacks, community territory, social processes, transformation, construction, identity, image.