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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

  • His brother is to his left or our left? Be precise, as both conventions are commonly used in describing images. – Pieter Geerkens May 1 '18 at 11:51
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    Sorry, his left, both are Cossacks. – Henrik T May 1 '18 at 19:06
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    Comments are ephemeral - edit it into the question. – Pieter Geerkens May 1 '18 at 19:18
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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":

https://ru.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Нагрудный_знак_«За_отличную_стрельбу_из_винтовок»

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?

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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.

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