Zabolotie. The endless swamps, woods, lakes, rivers and streams. The lack of electricity and cellular roads. The lack of solid ground. But despite everything, people have been living there for a very long time.

Before Zabolotnie Tatars turned into "Tatars" - converted to Islam, accepted sibirskotatarsky language and traditions - these people had been representatives of different nationalities - Nenets, Khanty and Mansi. That's a reincarnation. But despite all the changes, the way of life has remained the same.

There are two ways of getting to the Zabolotie villages during the warm seasons: by a small plane (AN-2, passenger capacity - 12 people), or a motor boat. There are no roads during summer, autumn and spring. Only when the cold weather hits Siberia, a winter road connecting the "mainland" and villages of Zabolotie is built.

"If you do not have a boat, a snowmobile or a rifle, then you won't survive in Zabolotie "- the locals say.

Tatars hunt, fish and gather berries - and that's their main income, they sell and trade the gifts of nature for flour, sugar, tea, gas, etc.

People face many problems: electricity is provided only for 12 hours a day, there are no hospitals, no good doctors, no clean water, no schools, and only 1 Mosque for this huge territory... But no matter what, Zabolotnie tatars seem to be happy. And free. (Tyumen Region, Siberia, Russia, 2015-2016)

© alexander aksakov