My great-grandfahter was a Cossack from "Then Russia" "Now Belarus" where the Belarus, Ukraine and Poland borders met, but I don't now which "type" like Don or Kuban etc. He fled from the place he lived about 1912-1914.

My great-grandfather is the man in the middle and his brother is sitting to his left (both are cossacks).

I think he was a Don Cossack but I can't find someone with the same uniforms.

I know almost nothing more since he never talked about what he did in the military to my grandmother.

enter image description here

  • I've recently found photo of my great great grandfather, on which he wears the same uniform, but in the rank of officer, he was from Poland, and I too, I don't know which unit or formation he was in...
    – Piotr K
    Mar 18, 2020 at 14:49
  • @PiotrK - any chance you could upload that photo of your great great grandfather?
    – ed.hank
    Mar 18, 2020 at 15:34
  • if you know name, surname, place of birth or something else - I can try to find some information abaut him in russian archives write heare please - [email protected] Apr 21, 2021 at 10:51

4 Answers 4


Cossack was not just a regiment one can get drafted into, it was something hereditary and traditional. The cossacks lived in specific areas (Don, Kuban river basins, Siberia, etc), had their own settlements, basically forming sub-ethnic groups.

Now, being a cossack is really nothing traditional in Belarus. Not now, neither in the beginning of the 20th century. There were no cossack settlements, being a cossack is alien to Belarusian historical tradition. Cossacks have visited Belarus only as a part of outside army force, mostly enemy force.

So there are two possibilities: either your great-grandfather was from somewhere else (not Belarus) and was stationed in Belarus during the war. Or he was not really a cossack, maybe your grandmother has misinterpreted it.


They are wearing the double breasted 1907 tunic which was issued to the regular army except the guards which had a more elaborate version. enter image description here He wears the Black papaha which was preferred by Cossacks and Soldiers in Siberian regiments. Though i just realised that this tunic was issued to troops on foot (Infantry, Engineers and artillery) and cossacks were on horses so i have made a decision to say that he is a member of one of the Siberian infantry regiments.

  • Would you be able to insert that image directly into your answer instead of linking to it?
    – F1Krazy
    Jul 5, 2020 at 17:36

May be your great grandfather was mobilised to the army when the WW1 was started. The Russian army had about 1,3 million soldiers and after mobilization it was up to 5 million soldiers. Both brothers had got signs of the second degree "For excellent shooting from rifles":


I can't say what regiment did they have military service at. But it may be a dragoon regiment. They were common soldiers. Such uniform was used before WW1, by example look to the photo Solders of 1st Leib Dragoon of the Moscow Emperor Peter I regiment

Also it's interesting, what is on the back side of your photo?


I have a similar photo of a russian soildier wearing a similar uniform, belt, hat and boots. enter image description here

  • 3
    I'm not sure this answers the question - can you clarify how this photo answers the question?
    – MCW
    Jul 18, 2022 at 7:18

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