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A boy stands near a backfire which the inhabitants of Aidara laid
in order to bring the forest fire under their control.


Isolated in the West Siberian plain, the village of Aidara is only reachable by the river Ket through a passage that requires attention and experience as fallen trees often create obstacles under the water’s surface. The next biggest settlement is about three hours downriver, and seemingly endless forest spreads out at the outskirts, reaching deep into the Siberian wilderness. The village of 150 inhabitants mainly consists of a community of Russian Orthodox Old Believers who live by the strict rules of their religion. Russian Orthodox Old Believers see themselves as the preservers of original Orthodox traditions, after they separated from the main church as a protest against reforms in the 17th century. Due to a history of persecution in Tsarist Russia, Old Believers have mostly settled in more isolated locations. Beside their practices of faith, the everyday life of Aidara’s inhabitants consists of exhausting agricultural work on the fields and in their gardens – their sustenance is almost wholly self-sufficient.