Khanty, Siberian nomads in picures

Quartz

Khanty-Mansiysk is an oil-rich and hilly region in central Russia. About 1.5 million people populate this vast area the size of France. The English-language newspaper Siberian Times has called it “the Siberian equivalent of Texas.” Over half of Russia’s oil is produced here. Today, the capital of the region (also called Khanty-Mansiysk) is a booming oil town with futuristic architecture, downhill ski slopes, and world-class cross-country ski tracks.

The area was historically populated mostly by the Khanty and Mansi peoples, as well as other ethnic groups. Under Soviet rule, the government developed parts of the region, introduced standardized education in Russian-language schools, and offered replacements for traditional nomadic homes with housing in newly erected villages. Local Khanty and Mansi languages, which are related to Hungarian, are now spoken by few.

Photographer Fyodor Telkov visited the village of Varyogan, where just 660 people live, all composing five very large Khanty families, for whom the traditional…

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