COSSACKS more -->
Cossacks were known as servants of the state or, in Russian - Sluzhilyye Lyudi. These servants of the state played a key role in Siberian settlement by Russians. The Cossacks, a translation of the Russian word 'kazak', are obscure in origin but served as agents of the Russian empire. The peak of their influence occurred during the first century of Russian entry into the area, namely, the second half of the 17th century. Cossacks functioned primarily as warriors and security agents. Cossacks functioned primarily as warriors and security agents. They served to protect bases set up for collection and distribution of the fur tributes. They served to protect bases set up for collection and distribution of the fur tributes. In addition, they enforced the conditions of the fur tribute including collection of tribute and suppression of conflict with native peoples.
Cossack service was a long commitment, lasting typically between 19-25 years. Upon completion of service, as well as during it, Cossack servants could be drafted away to other areas of the empire. In the trans-Baikal many of the Northern Cossacks remained settled after service as they were not re-organized under Alexander I and sent to the southern frontier. These Cossacks became part of communities in the trans-Baikal, acting as guides, interpreters and effectively a municipal police force. As such their cultural presence is reflected in the museum. There are representations of Cossack material culture, such as weaponry and elaborate woodcarvings. Cossack buildings include the estate of a wealthy Cossack atamari or chieftain, his main house, stables and storehouses etc.