- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
181

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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TROITSKIY MONASTIR, AND TO THE SOUTH
181
there also lived the highest official of the district, the
chief of police, or perhaps more correctly the prefect
of police (pristav). He is a sort of governor of the
whole district of Turukhansk, which extends north as
far as the Arctic Ocean.
There were no letters. Nor did wc get any news
of the world, later than what wc had ourselves brought
from Norway. I found out a long time afterwards
that, as our letters were addressed to Turukhansk,
they went to the old town on the tributary, where wc
never went, instead of to the new. And there they lay
peacefully waiting, while wc stood here bitterly dis
appointed.
Then wc had to go to the other side of the passage,
and call on the prefect of police, or pristav, Mr. Kibirov,
a quiet, really pleasant and good-natured-looking man,
who received us in a very friendly way. There was not
a trace in him of the savage cruelty that one expects to
find in so powerful a man in this country of conviets
and exiles. He came from the Caucasus, so here again
Loris-Melikov found a countryman. He was an Ossetin
(pronounced Assetin), and they are the wildest people
in the mountain districts of the Caucasus, and are often
enough robbers, Loris-Melikov told me ; but this one
looked anything but wild or predatory. The Ossetins
are Tatars (Cherkesses) and Mohammedans, but our
Ossetin here and his Ossetin wife were towns-people
and Christians.
Wc arrived quite unexpectedly ; but the pristav
immediately went out and put on his full uniform with
sword, which he wore in our honour all the time until
wc left.
The most remarkable thing I saw there was an
almost empty room by the side of his office, with an
iron safe containing the Governmenfs money, by the

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