THERE ARE 72 times more rural settlements in Russia than there are urban ones, but many villages vanish from the map of Russia annually. Vyezhii Log — a Siberian farming village in the Mana district of Krasnoyarskii Krai — is not one of these: New houses are being built, the young population is returning, and the elders perpetuate their traditions.

Village life in the summer is quiet; almost half of the male population is working, with the rest either haying or picking berries. Here people do drink and fight sometimes, but if anything bad happens, everyone sticks together whether it is to put out a big fire or to do the haying. This is how village life works.

[Note: This was originally published at Russia Beyond the Headlines and re-printed here with permission.]

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russian-farm

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Haying

People here live in one or two floored wooden or stone houses. During summer they gather berries and mushrooms, prepare hay, and grow vegetables and fruit. The locals also work here or nearby as shop-keepers, teachers, doctors, and builders. Young people go to the towns and cities to study, and many of them do not come back.

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Milking

“An udder is warm to touch, but is not that simple to milk,” says Anna, a local inhabitant. “I don’t like cities. It’s loud there,” she continues. “Here we have cattle, all the products are natural. What do they have there?”

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Milking cow

Anna has milked cows since childhood, and she does it very well. She works fast with both hands and milks two buckets. The cow stays still.

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Piglet

This village is hidden in the taiga, 180 kilometers from the nearest city of Krasnoyarsk. The local inhabitants go about their daily business, looking after the farm and all the cattle, and generally getting ready for the winter.

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Vyezhii Log

At first it seems that Vyezhii Log is an ordinary village, but that is not true. In 1968 a well-known Soviet movie called "Taiga’s Master" was filmed here, which starred the famous Russian actor and poet Vladimir Vysotsky. This event is still fresh in memory of locals.

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Early to rise

The small village wakes up at the crack of dawn or even earlier, since the cattle need feeding. The women milk the cows and prepare breakfast, while the men head for the fields or the forest.

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Peek-a-boo

The pace of life here is quite measured.

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Hay stack

Village men take their sons to the fields to do some mowing and provide winter fodder for the livestock. “The weather in August changes rapidly. It will be great if the sunny weather lasts another week, because the grass in the field will dry quickly, and we’ll make hay for the future,” says a local worker.

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Nowhere to go

Sometimes it’s hard, but the locals do not want to move out. And they often have nowhere else to go.

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Best friends

Like in all villages, the locals love to celebrate weddings long and hard, sometimes for as long as a week. New Year celebrations also go on forever. People can get drunk and fight over any trifle, but once the trouble is over, they’re soon friends again.

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Busy life

Milking, building, farming, and looking after the household. You also need to get your kids to school, store firewood for the winter, cut hay, and gather berries…

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Village at night

Although local residents love rural life and do not want to move to the towns and cities, the population of villages is decreasing. It is easier to find jobs in urban areas where there is access to developed infrastructure (schools, hospitals, stores, etc.).

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