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Tyumen's Wetland Tatars

The wetlands of Russia's Tyumen region are the site of the oldest Russian settlement in Siberia. But they are also home to Russians of Tatar descent. They live in the remote villages of Laytamak, Kukrende, Lechek, Ausak, and Kuskurgul -- cut off from "the mainland" from spring through winter. There are weekly flights to some of the villages, but you won't find many refrigerators or televisions. (22 PHOTOS)

Many of the villages lie on clear patches nestled in the midst of broad expanses of soupy soil.
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Many of the villages lie on clear patches nestled in the midst of broad expanses of soupy soil.

Residents need to equip vehicles like this truck with special wheels well-suited to the slogging.
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Residents need to equip vehicles like this truck with special wheels well-suited to the slogging.

Locals herd sheep as they pass through a village.
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Locals herd sheep as they pass through a village.

A shop assistant brings supplies to a village shop that have been delivered by boat.
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A shop assistant brings supplies to a village shop that have been delivered by boat.

You've got to be sure-footed for even the most basic chores, such as fetching water.
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You've got to be sure-footed for even the most basic chores, such as fetching water.

An aerial view of some village houses.
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An aerial view of some village houses.

A woman makes cream in her kitchen.
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A woman makes cream in her kitchen.

Children enjoy their backyard playground.
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Children enjoy their backyard playground.

A man mends fishing nets in his backyard.
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A man mends fishing nets in his backyard.

Fish is the most common dish for most villagers. Here, a man cooks fish soup on an open fire.
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Fish is the most common dish for most villagers. Here, a man cooks fish soup on an open fire.

And boats are the main means of transportation in these parts.
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And boats are the main means of transportation in these parts.

A woman prepares a traditional dish, blueberry dumplings.
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A woman prepares a traditional dish, blueberry dumplings.

A man sits on the stoop of a traditional wooden home.
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A man sits on the stoop of a traditional wooden home.

A woman watches as an airplane, a vital lifeline to the outside world, lifts off.
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A woman watches as an airplane, a vital lifeline to the outside world, lifts off.

Travel by airplane is the quickest way to travel any distance.
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Travel by airplane is the quickest way to travel any distance.

A truck wades its way through the water with a delivery.
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A truck wades its way through the water with a delivery.

Lighter vehicles can use plank roads like this one.
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Lighter vehicles can use plank roads like this one.

A young boy hams it up for the camera.
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A young boy hams it up for the camera.

A local carpenter produces traditionally ornate wooden window frames.
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A local carpenter produces traditionally ornate wooden window frames.

A family shows off the cozy comforts of home in one of the traditional local houses.
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A family shows off the cozy comforts of home in one of the traditional local houses.

A man hacks a traditional boat by hollowing out a single tree trunk.
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A man hacks a traditional boat by hollowing out a single tree trunk.

A man carries water from the lake.
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A man carries water from the lake.

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