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Black bareback riders

opinion

Below is an article published by Le Monde Diplomatique: At around three in the morning the temperature in the yurt plummets and the wind begins to howl. A young nomad woman, who earlier had tucked me into my makeshift bed on the floor, snores loudly in my ear. We are in the high steppes, in the remote province of Erzin Kozhuun in southern Tuva, close to the Mongolian border.

Under a pile of blankets in one corner of the yurt is a shaman. Asleep, he seems a shadow of the person who, his face obscured Black bareback riders an elaborate feathered headdress, had lit a fire at midnight on the forested slopes outside, calling Black bareback riders sky spirits and beating a rhythm on his drum. At first it seems I am the only one awake, then a pair of jet black eyes meet mine. A young boy with burnished cheeks and closely cropped hair stares at me for a few seconds, then dives under a thick quilt.

His mother, in her early twenties, sleeps on the floor next to his iron bed. The previous evening, after wiping her hands clean of the blood of the slaughtered sheep, she had insisted on running off to apply eye shadow before posing for photos, wearing her high-heeled black leather boots. Altair had invited me to stay with his family — a group of herders who moved with the seasons.

Altair, a stockily built man with a powerful presence, rarely smiles and initially seemed permanently on guard. We had met in Abakan, in neighbouring Khakassia, and he had driven at what felt like alarming speeds over the high snowy peaks towards Tuva.

In winter we are entirely cut off. As a businessman, how "Black bareback riders" he manage to trade?

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