Rereading the famous 1822 Speranskii Statute on Alien (Inorodsty) Administration, which defined the place of the Siberian natives within the Russian Empire, I ran across the name of a group called “Bukhtarmintsy” who numbered no more than 600 people and resided in the Bukhtarma and Uimon valleys of the Altai, southwestern Siberia, and were related to the category of “settled aliens.”2 This fact did not attract my attention until I found out that the “Bukhtarmintsy,” also known as the “rock people” (kamenshchiki), were not Siberian natives at all, but pure Russian settlers. Not only were they Russians, but also predominantly Old Believers, whom the empire had relegated to the category of tribute (iasak) payers. Although this status granted in 1791 was eventually taken away in 1878, the fact that for almost 90 years a group of Russian settlers officially lived as “aliens” (inorodtsy) appeared to me to be unusual.