The Zaporozhian Cossacks colonized the steppes farther E., towards the Don, where they met with a large population of Great Russian runaways, constituting the present Don Cossacks.
In the midst of the Northern War, shortly after the great Russian victory of Poltava (1709), the sultan, at the instigation of Swedish and French agents, determined to recover Azov, and made great military preparations for that purpose.
As a true daughter of the great Russian reformer, Elizabeth (1741-61) relegated the German element to a subordinate position in the administration and gave her confidence to genuine Russians like Bestuzhev, Vorontsov, Razumovski (her morganatic husband) and the Shuvalovs.
In 1871-1873 the great Russian explorer, Nicolai Prjevalsky, crossed the Gobi desert from the north to Kansu in western China.
There are accordingly parts of Siberia, especially among the Raskolniks or Nonconformists, where the north Russian, the Great Russian and the Ukrainian (or southern) types have maintained themselves in their full purity, and only some differences in domestic architecture, in the disposition of their villages and in the language and character of the population remind the traveller that he is in Siberia.