A new meaning to getting a lift to school as student Ilya Imeyev, 14, carries younger children over the river to avoid 100 km round trip.
Village kids from Batkhay village get to classes. Picture: Vesti
With no bridge linking the 14 families of Batkhay to the school - a 3 km walk - the only way to classes is to wade across a local river.
Too deep for the smaller children, this is where Ilya helps.
Without this short cut, it would be a 100 km round trip on a mud track each day.
Ilya hoists six children across the river each day.
'It can be very tiring, of course,' he admitted.
'I change into waders in the morning and late afternoon.'
Ilya hoists six children across the river each day. Pictures: Vesti
Sometimes he gets help from other teenagers but if one child stays late at school for extra activities, then Ilya must do too to ensure they have a lift home.
In deep winter there is no problem: the water is frozen thick, and the children can walk over the ice.
The problem comes in spring, and autumn, when the water is cold, and too deep for smaller ones.
Ilya's mother Albina explained that the children can easily get wet, and cold, then sickly.
'They used to get sick so often that now if they get wet we just ask them to come back,' she said.
'It means they often miss school.
Local officials have declined to build a bridge. Pictures: Vesti
'But even if they don't get wet, to cross this cold twice daily in waders ruins their health.'
Ilya is their best chance of staying dry.
The village, some 362 km north of regional capital Irkutsk, is a farming community.
Local officials have declined to build a bridge, saying the estimated cost of 11 million roubles ($195,000) was too high for the budget.
Villagers asked the local officials for help in paying for timber - so they could make a crossing themselves - but they were refused.
Next school year there will be one more student to take over the river, as little Daria is turns 7 this summer.
This is the age when Russian children go to school, or in Batkhay - get a lift to classes.
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