There's no better place to grow than in the towns like my historic Tara, founded in 1594, without traffic jams and supermarkets, but with winter fun and fresh air.
There is a great variety of winter fun in Siberia - for example, a local businessman Sergey Benke made a banya (Russian steam sauna) on wheels. Picture: Alexey Malgavko
In my town of Tara the summers are hot - and winters extremely cold. We live in a region which has a sharply continental climate.
When the smoke from the chimneys rises up in the sky, it means that it's freezing outdoors.
However, there are less kids on the snowy streets nowadays than when I was young. In the age of the Internet and computer games it's hard to find them. Most seem to spend their free time in front of the screen.
In January, we usually have extended holidays due to the heavy frost.
But even in minus 30C during my childhood, no one was at home. We played in the yard or would go skating and play ice hockey.
That's more like its used to be: children enjoy cold weather in the historic town of Tara, Omsk region, Siberia. Picture: Alexey Malgavko
As soon as the first frosts hit in early November, the farmers cull their cattle. Butchered carcasses are usually hung right there in the barns.
The meat, frozen by nature, will not go bad during the long winter.
There is a great variety of winter fun in Siberia. For example, a local businessman Sergey Benke made a banya (Russian steam sauna) on wheels, and now not only does he enjoy the winter, and his clients as he moves around our district, but but he also provides entertainment for the audience who happen to be near his latest stop on his mobile banya.
Hunting is just fun for some people, but for others it's a way of earning living and surviving. Fox, rabbit, sable, deer, wolf, and maybe even bear can be found just 20 km from the town.
When the smoke from the chimneys rises up in the sky, it means that it's freezing outdoors. Picture: Alexey Malgavko
Car drivers here in Tara have to be smart about the cold, while starting their engines in minus 35C. Some heat up their motor by putting an electric cooker under the engine, others fix a plastic bag with hot water under the bonnet.
Some wrap the engine in cloth, leaving the car outside at night. But they often have to start a car with a push, literally pushing the car for a while before the engine starts. In hard frosts road builders and loggers have their vehicles' engines running for days on end, being afraid that they will never otherwise start them again.
Car drivers here in Tara have to be smart about the cold, while starting their engines in minus 35C. Picture: Alexey Malgavko
Tara has two subsidiary institutions of Omsk University. In cold weather the classes don't get cancelled. Often you can see how students while going to college break their journey on foot by rushing from one warm shop to the next until their reach their college.
One truism of living here is that the colder it is outside the warmer and more inviting feels the house in which you live.
Sometimes I'm asked what prevents me and other Siberians from moving to warmer countries. Some place where we wouldn't need to spend money on warm clothes, fuel, and where we could grow fruit and eat delicious fresh produce all year round.
Actually, nothing prevents it. But there is such a disease called nostalgia for the cold weather. I think, many of those born in Siberia, have caught this disease. The heavier the frost is, the more active and alive people feel.
This feeling is kind of extreme, and I like it.
The colder it is outside the warmer and more inviting feels the house in which you live. Picture: Alexey Malgavko
Tara has a population of around 27,300 and was formed as part of the eastward Russian expansion into Siberia led by Yermak.
It pre-dates many of Siberia's major cities and for a period was a key gateway to and from the east.
It was overtaken by Omsk and the later routing of the Great Siberian Road and the Trans Siberian Railway bypassed it. It is now linked by the Tomsk-Tara-Tobolsk highway and there are signs of its economy reviving after the tough times of the 1990s.
Aleksey Malgavko, 27
'Tara is my hometown and I am happy to share my view of it with the world. From 2005 I worked as a photographer for the regional newspaper 'Tarskoye Priirtyshe'.
Now I work as a correspondent for RIA Novosti, one of Russia's leading news agencies'.
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