North of Russia: Life in reindeer herders in the Tundra
• North of Russia: Life in Tundra reindeer herders in
Russia, Nenets tundra. Mariana girl 9 years. Her contemporaries-gorozhanki already versed in cosmetic trends, flipping through a glamorous belt instagrama and Marian skillfully manages reindeer team over the vast expanses of Nenets tundra. Very soon, a week later, she sits on the school helicopter and go to a boarding school until the spring, and now it is in the tent, in which life goes on, in which the place on the map is only tied to a volatile gps-position, which only knows helicopter pilot, with whom we went to visit the Mariana.
Gen. herders who lead a traditional nomadic way of life in the tundra - this is one of the most interesting parallel realities, with whom I came in contact during his travels. I want to tell and show how life is arranged today in the tent in the summer, but will definitely be back for the winter continuation of this amazing story. History, which greatly contrasts with the usual for us the realities of life of megacities.
Photos and text by Alexander Cheban
Where the fresh air ... that feel the taste.
Where boundless expanse ... that really feel, but can not embrace your imagination.
Where to preserve the age-old traditions of their ancestors ... that can not be replaced by any modern technology.
Welcome to the Tundra!
2. You see a small color spot in the center of the frame? A few pixels in the picture, a small, barely noticeable dot on the map, and a place that is very well described by the untranslatable phrase "in the middle of nowhere". This tent reindeer herders brigades "Harp".
3. helicopter pilots know only approximate coordinates, the search is conducted visually on the ground, sometimes takes half an hour or even more.
4. The soil in the tundra is special, no matter what do not like, soft and tender to the touch. Mi-8 Joint Aviation Division Naryan Mar can not sit here, so it hangs by touching the surface. We quickly unload our stuff.
5. After 5 minutes, it rises sharply in the air blowing even backpack or bag for tens of meters.
7. It Timothy - Brigadier reindeer brigades "Harp", in its submission to the shepherd and four tent-worker and ... 2500 deer. Timothy himself - Komi, and the shepherds in his team - Nenets. And his wife is too Nenets.
8. During the summer and winter on the tundra moved to the sled. In the summer they are also excellent glide over the surface of the bushes.
What is the nomadic herding?
- The deer farms "Harp" 7 teams, they all belong to the farm, which is located in the village of Red. Each team has its mrashrut grazing, replacing every 3-4 weeks the location, walking dozens of kilometers across the tundra. Timothy Brigade travels a distance of 200-300 km per year, some teams this route can be up to 600 km. It goes with the herd grazes in a radius of 10km from the miracle.
In the village at the Red Brigade members have at home, but they live in them very rarely, vacation and retirement. Even pensioners go to the tundra as possible.
Why can not engage in reindeer permanently on the farm? - In Soviet times, attempts were made to arrange a stationary economy. But the reindeer can not be fixed, reindeer eat moss, which is updated over the years. On the other hand, the number of reindeer can not be increased without control for the same reason - the vast expanses of tundra is simply not enough food.
How to make venison from a deer?
- Each spring, the deer give birth, the brigade Timothy 1200 calves, half of them for the winter will have to pass on the slaughtering plant in the farm.
In December and January there is the slaughter of deer. Most of the items slaughter (which are located in villages) no refrigeration, so freezing occurs naturally. Number of deer in the NAO is 180 thousand annually carried out the slaughter 30-35tys deer. 70-80% of the face contingent - deer up to 1 year. For comparison: in the 70s of the last century in the NAO slaughter 60-70tys deer annually.
Frozen carcasses of deer taken away from the settlements in the tundra by helicopter Mi-26 is the largest serial transport helicopter in the world! One hour Mi-26 works worth 670 thousand rubles / hour capacity is 18 tons. When the purchase price of 125 rubles per 1 kg venison, the value of its helicopter transportation is still 90 rubles / kg !!! And other options to get to the remote regions of the county there is simply no. There are no roads or winter roads! During the winter helicopter makes 20-25 of flights to various regions where centralized dumped meat on snowmobiles from smaller villages or deer-fit yourself in the large points face. And there is a flight of 1 hour, and there are flights of 5-6 hours. Turnover single Naryan Mar meat processing plant is 900 tons of venison per year. 450 tons imported by helicopter and 450 - by road on winter roads. Total for the season in the NAO comes slaughter 1000-1100 tons, 900 - collects and processes the meat and 100-150 being bought by the local population and is used locally for their own needs.
How much does a deer?
- A live reindeer costs an average of 15 thousand rubles. It's not just meat, and even have horns, hooves, skin ...
10. Marian plague in the summer, the only way to adopt reindeer herding skills. The NAO and Yakutia introduce distance education, where even in winter the children stay with their parents in the tundra, and basic education taught by parents.
Children help with the housework in the absolute majority of tasks. Here, for example, Mariana helps yurkovat deer, driving them into karzak (limited grid area), where shepherds selected for reindeer sledding and sleigh. Marina harness and unharness the reindeer itself without problems.
12. Each reindeer herders and the foreman know "in your face". Many have nicknames.
- Marian, what are your toys?
- (pause) No, why should I toy?
- For me Argish (sleigh with things and products), puppies, reindeer sleds ...
22. Timothy found a fragment of mammoth tusk, started digging and found other bones. It is for this we came to it at this time. Then our expedition continued and dig deeper, we began to search the rest of the skeleton.
24. Satellite and TV in the tent. One tank of diesel fuel in the diesel generator is enough for 6-8 hours of browsing. All it delivered only by helicopter in the summer! In the winter a little easier - by snowmobile from the nearest settlement can bring the necessary things, food, diesel fuel.
27. This wood ... in the tundra of firewood is not easy, there are no trees here.
30. In a plague hostess we were treated to delicious pasta with braised venison! Taste is not describe in words.
35. "Deer" - in Nenets means "life." Deer - all: food, dishes, clothes, that's life in the literal sense of the word.
So someone who is where?
Reindeer herder leads a herd of deer?
Or reindeer herders move their tent from one place to follow the herd?
To be continued...