He speaks Finnish with Finns, Mongolian with Buriats, Ostiak with Ostiaks; he shows remarkable facility in adapting his agricultural practices to new conditions, without, however, abandoning the village community; he becomes hunter, cattle-breeder or fisherman, and carries on these occupations according to local usage; he modifies his dress and adapts his religious beliefs to the locality he inhabits.
In East Siberia the Buriats occupy the Selenga and the Uda, parts of Nerchinsk, and the steppes between Irkutsk and the upper Lena, as also the Baikal Mountains and the island of Orkhon; they support themselves chiefly by live-stock breeding, but some, especially in Irkutsk, are agriculturists.
South-east Transbaikalia suffers from want of water, and the Buriats have to irrigate their fields.
As an independent pursuit, live-stock breeding is carried on by the Russians in eastern Transbaikalia, by the Yakuts in the province of Yakutsk, and by the Buriats in Irkutsk and Trans- Lave baikalia, but elsewhere it is secondary to agriculture.
The Buriats offered some opposition, but between 1631 and 1641 the Cossacks erected several palisaded forts in their territory, and in 1648 the fort on the upper Uda beyond Lake Baikal.