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Exhibition “Cossacks of Russia are the Sentries of the Country”

17.06.2011

The exhibition “Cossacks of Russia are the Sentries of the Country” is laid out in the halls of the Excursion Exhibition centre “The People’s House”. It is a joint project of the four museums: the Russian Ethnographic Museum from Saint-Petersburg, the Novocherkassk Museum of the Don Cossack History, the Rostov Regional Museum of Area Study and the State M.A. Sholokhov Museum-Reserve.

In all times Cossacks considered their main duty to defend their Country. They defended the frontiers of Russia against the enemies and fought in all the wars waged by the government, they could fight skillfully in horse and foot order, on land and at sea, in mountains and steppes. Always and everywhere they were utterly brave and responsible for their duty.

The first hall exposition narrates about Cossack participation in the wars waged by Russia in the XIX-XX centuries, in campaigns for expansion of its boundaries and in defending its frontiers. There are banners of victory of the Cossack regiments over the enemies: the Georgian Banner of the 3d Don Cossack Regiment “For the exploit at Shengraben on the 4th of November, 1805”; the banner of the Cossacks-Nekrasovists of 1908”; the banner of the 51st Don Cossack regiment granted for the 300th anniversary of the Don Army (Voysko Donskoe); a standard “For the rushing attack and occupation of  Brailov on the 13th of April, 1877-1878”.

The glass-cases display a series of uniforms of the Russian Empire Cossack Armies. There are uniforms of Kuban and Terek Cossacks, a uniform of a Don Cossack, who fought in the First World War. The Astrakhan Cossack Army is represented by a uniform of a Kalmyk Cossack. There are Cossack regalia, awards of the victorious Cossack armies, regiments and Cossacks: nominal sabres and swords, medals and orders.

The most important part of the exposition takes in various types of Cossack portraits and genre paintings by unknown XIX century painters, as well as those by modern masters of painting and drawing.

The second hall is devoted to the peculiarities of the everyday tenor, spiritual life, traditions of upbringing the younger generation, clothing.

The exhibits relating to orthodoxy and Old Belief convey much about the spiritual life of Cossacks, however, most of them took confession of orthodoxy. Among the exhibits are clothes, icons, a cross with a crucifix.

Cossacks attended to upbringing children, developed their skills predestining their further life. Since early childhood boys were prepared for the deserving service for the Country. Girls, besides their feminine occupations, were taught the art of lancing and horseriding. Much attention was paid to secular education of children.

The exposition lays out postcards with pictures of educational institutions of Novocherkassk, school certificates, diplomas, textbooks, exercise-books. Young visitors will be attracted by the playing cards, one of the educational elements. Each card bears a name and a coat of arms of a region, its geographical position, pictured figures in folk dresses or military uniforms. This information was supposed to form a notion of the economic geography of Russia in children.

The exposition is completed with the materials about Cossacks revival, which began late in the 1980-s and was supported by the President and Government of the Russian Federation.

You are welcome for our exhibition, which will last till July, 25, 2011.

Irina Koveshnikova