Ataman (variants: wataman, vataman, otaman, Cyrillic: атаман (Russian), ватаман (Russian, regional), отаман (Ukrainian)) was a title of Cossack and haidamak leaders of various kinds. The term was also used for the leader of a fisherman artel and of a band of robbers or thieves.
Among various types of the military grade of ataman were voisko ataman (войсковой атаман), campaign ataman (походный атаман), kosh ataman (кошевой атаман), kuren (kurin) ataman (куренной атаман) and .
Usually atamans were elected. However during campaigns they could be appointed. In this case he was called nakaznoy ataman, (наказной атаман), i.e., acting or appointed ataman.