White nomads

The Bolshezemelskaya tundra, in the Vorkuta region, is the very Northern end of the Komi Republic, in Russia. It is a place, where no roads exist and life runs in an extremely hard way. There is only one railroad which connects the mining town of Vorkuta with the rest of the country. Everything else is a deserted plain of nothing for thousands of square miles, hit by severe weather conditions for most of the year with temperature reaching down to -57C.

For hundreds of years, Komi and Nenets nomads reindeer herders, have been living here surviving against the very rough nature of the far North of Russia.
Even now - in our modern times - they have to live more or less the very same way as before, struggling with extreme cold, snow and solitude. Their life is mostly untouched by progress; they still have to migrate and literally follow their animals - mostly on foot - towards the Northern areas, along the ancient routes. Although life near the new railroad delivers some drops of progress - snowmobiles, TV and cellular network - all those amenities are useless for most of the year, while families leave civilisation for the annual migration.
Herders are trying to move herd to the next pasture. It is quite hard to maintain 3000 deers. And sometimes it can take the whole day to move that huge amount only for 10km.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
A kid in a Sovic — traditional clothes. Children are usually stay with parents before school starts. Although not every family prefer to give their child to study in town, as they are afraid him to leave the family. Vorkuta town offers free schools and accommodation during winter for herders children. In summer children leave town and migrate to the North with their parents.
Herders were captured by a temporary storm during their trip to a pasture. The storms are common and long. Therefore if herder do not make it to home in time, he will have to stay overnight in the wild weather conditions.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Although Tundra and Russian north is one of the most unwelcoming places on Earth, it is still counted as a beautiful land. While in summer, the land is full of colours, in winter colours appear right above the head. It is a polar lights.
Snowstorms are deadly dangerous during migration. If herders face them, they will have to find a spot for camping till it got much worse.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Snow in this places lies till July. Therefore, weather in spring is unpredictable. Now is a first decade of May. Snowstorms happen one after another. But no time for rest. During migration everyday work is essential.
Men are doing everyday work at the main pasture, which is about 10km away from camping spot. They are moving herd and maintaining with a separate reindeers.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Today lunch consists of a fresh meat, which is slightly roasted right on a stove surface and vodka. Fresh meat is the most common and moreover healthy food, a person can get here. These days, when the income of families has slightly raised, they usually can afford potato, flour, rice and buckwheat.
Kids are studying the nomadic life since they are small. At four they already maintain with a sleigh. Later they study housing, slaughtering and herding.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
A herder is looking after his pasture. Everyone is equipped with binoculars, as the herd of 3000 deers is huge and can spread very far. Thanks to the land here is pretty flat.
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