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The Reindeer Herders


Zakhar and Prokopy, ages 7 and 9, are growing up far from civilization on the Taymyr Peninsula of northern Siberia. Their family, members of the Dolgan minority, raises reindeer for a living, and the boys are learning this demanding trade as well. In the past, the children of Russia's nomadic groups were usually sent to boarding schools, and seldom returned permanently to their homes. To help some such groups preserve their traditions and family units, the government of the Krasnoyarsk region has started a program of "mobile schools," in which teachers live with their students in remote regions. Between their duties with their herds, the boys are now taking lessons from 23-year-old Nelli Andreyevna, who teaches them math and explains who Mr. Putin is. (Kseniya Yelyan, RFE/RL'S Russian Service)

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