Today i will talk about the costume and embroidery of the Kalmyk people, also spelled Kalmuk. They live around the mouth of the Volga, where it empties into the Caspian Sea, and the surrounding steppe. Here is a map of Kalmykia, showing its relationship to other peoples in the region. Kalmykia is shown in a dark rust color.
You can see that the Kalmyks are mostly surrounded by Russians, shown in pale green, but that they are not far from Kazakhstan on their east, shown in darker green, and also not far from the Caucuses, and in fact border on Dagestan, shown in bright green to their south. The capitol is Elista, and this is their flag.
The Kalmyks are part of the Oirat people, who are originally from western Mongolia and neighboring regions. They left after a prolonged conflict with the Khalkha, the ruling people of Mongolia. The migration took place between 1618 and 1630, in which year they arrived in their present homeland. The word Kalmyk is from the turkic, meaning 'remnant'. It was at first applied as a derogative, but has been embraced by the Kalmyk people. Those who stayed behind still refer to themselves as Oirat. The area had been part of the Astrakhan Horde, but their power had long since dissipated. It was nominally under the control of the Russian Empire, but in fact, it was very thinly inhabited, mostly by nomadic Nogay. The Nogay were driven south, and now mostly live in the coastal regions of Dagestan. For a more detailed history, see this article.
The Russians were at first wary of the Kalmyk, but soon realised that they in fact formed an effective buffer in front of the various Muslim Turkic peoples of the area, and came to an alliance with them. For their part, the Kalmyk nominally accepted Russian overlordship, but mostly ruled themselves. The Kalmyk are unique in Europe in that they mostly adhere to Tibetan Buddhism.
To illustrate one of the frustrations of doing this kind of research, Here is a drawing done by the artist Christian-Gottfried-Heinrich Geissler in the early 1790's during his trip to the area of a Kalmyk couple.
Max Tilke, 'Costumes, Patterns and Designs', New York, 1990 [reprint]
E. Korneev, 'Costumes of the Peoples of Russia in the Graphic Arts of the 18th-20th centuries', Moscow, 1990
N. Kalashnikova, 'National Costumes of the Soviet Peoples', Moscow, 1990
Josephina Bul, 'The Epic 'Djangar' and Kalmyk Stage Costume', Elista, 1997
G. Tsakirova, 'Kalmykia', Moscow, 1983
Helmuth Bossert, 'Folk Art of Europe', New York, 1990 [reprint]
V. Pal'chikov, 'Khal'mg Ulsin Erdm' [Kalmyk Folk Art], Rostov na Don, 1970