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Everyday Russia


Monday, April 04, 2016


by Yevgenia Zhulanova

Name: Yevgenia Zhulanova

Age: 29

Profession: Photographer

City: Salekhard, Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug

How long have you been doing photography? What style or genre most interests you? I have been doing photography for about four years. I am most interested in modern documentary photography.

Can you give us a short description of your city? Where is it located? What is it famous for? Salekhard is the only city in the world which lies directly on the Arctic Circle. It is the capital of the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug, a very rich region of Russia, thanks to the oil and gas sector. Yet there are no large production enterprises in the city itself. It is mainly a city of bureaucrats and functionaries.

Salekhard was founded in 1595 by Russian Cossacks. You can get to the city by airplane, or by train to the nearby city of Labytnangi, then cross the river Ob.

What is something about your city that only locals would know? The tastiest local fish is muksun, but there are limits to how many can be caught and therefore it can be difficult to find it on sale. Yet nearly every local knows how to get it. In the North, people are incredibly responsive and kind, and look ten years younger than their actual age. To this day many two story wooden homes have neither running water or toilets, and water is delivered a few times a week. Locals call the rest of Russia "the land" or "materik" (mainland).

Which places or sites are a must for someone to see if they visit your city?
The abandoned station Chaika in the tropospheric radio relay communication line Sever. This is a former Soviet communication system built for staying in touch with distant regions of the country. The Chaika station is located 12 km to the east of Salekhard. Chaika was rebuilt in December 2000, but the entire Sever system was taken out of commission in 2003. Locals call the place "the locators."

In the spring Salekhard hosts the Day of the Reindeer Breeder. This is a huge holiday and breeders come to the city from throughout the okrug. There are concerts and competitions in locally popular sports (log pulling and reindeer racing).

One of the symbols of the city is the monument to the mammoth, located at the crossing over the river Ob.

Any time of year is a good time to go fishing with locals.

Anything else you would like to add? The North purifies.

  • Shopping Day

    In spring 2015 I made a photoshoot about life in the Polar Circle. This week I'm going to show it to you. Salekhard is the administrative center of Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug. The city lives at the expense of the region. The main trade of the indigenous people called the Nenets is reindeer-raising. Deer are not only their means of transportation but also food, clothes and livelihood. In this picture you can see reindeer sleds standing near administrative buildings in the center of Salekhard. Deer are waiting for their owners while they are busy shopping.

    Yevgenia Zhulanova

  • Reindeer Breeder Day

    In the spring, the Day of Reindeer Breeder is celebrated widely on the Yamal Peninsula. All the reindeer breeders and their families gather together and sell frozen fish, clothes and venison. Yevgenia Zhulanova

  • Helmet

    On the Day of Reindeer Breeder this family rented their tent to the organizer of the festival. Everyone could go inside and learn their mode of life and share dinner with them. Almost every family of reindeer breeders has a snowmobile. On this holiday, parents usually buy presents for their children, whether toys or something useful, for example a crash helmet. Children liked helmets even more than electronic piano.
    Yevgenia Zhulanova

  • Snowmobile

    This reindeer breeder was the most handsome I had ever seen. But unfortunately, he didn't want to get acquainted with me though posed very impressively. During the holiday its participants boasted not only of their reindeer sleds, but also new snowmobiles. Reindeer breeders get their snowmobiles through a state reindeer support program. But life away from civilization often causes a problem with fuel, so reindeer are irreplaceable.
    Yevgenia Zhulanova

  • Cat and Goose

    Once this man from the village of Shuryshkary picked up a wounded goose. Now it lives with five cats and three dogs. On the chair there is muksun, which is a favorite fish of northern people. Its catch is limited because of a decline in its population. They eat it uncooked or frozen. 
    Yevgenia Zhulanova

  • Nenets

    Despite the fact that northern people are resistant to severe frosts, the Nenets children can still get running noses. This boy was sitting in a sledge and waiting for his parents to collect their unsold goods and get ready to go home. 
    Yevgenia Zhulanova

  • Two Guys

    These drunken guys are skating over the frozen Ob after the Day of Reindeer Breeder in the village of Aksarka. In body of Northern people there is no gene responsible for alcohol resistance. That's why they are prone to alcoholism. Russian conquerers took advantage of it, treat them with alcohol and then exchange fur and deer for little money. Part of the Nenets have left a nomadic life and live in flats, allocated by the state. The problem of alcoholism is very here. Partly because of the people who want to take away the flats of the Nenets. 
    Yevgenia Zhulanova