NOVOSIBIRSK: Andrei was making the 40 minute walk home from work in Novosibirsk in a short-sleeve shirt amid -1c on this first day of winter. The 52-year old IT specialist and father of 5 said he has been dressing so in winter since 2009. It is part of a series of changes in his life since 2005 that includes a greater focus on religion and health. A pagan Slavic adherent who goes by the name Gostoslav, he gave up drinking and smoking and now runs a social media page devoted to the meaning of life. He also chairs his residential housing committee. He says dealing with tenant problems is stressful, but his walks in the cold has trained his mind and body for just such difficulties.
ULAN-UDE, EASTERN SIBERIA: Sergei, an IT specialist for Russia Post, said his physical appearance began to change three years ago after a stroll with his older sister along 'Arbat Street' in Ulan-Ude. "She told me she wanted a tattoo and I said I wanted one as well. I simply wanted a change in my life." He then got one ... then a second, a third and so one. He has about 30% of his body covered in tattoos, but doesn't plan to stop. "I want to cover my whole body," he said. One of his favorite tattoos is a portrait of singer Marilyn Manson (visible on his arm). Sergei said he loves his job and his colleagues, and that one of his dreams is to take a long road trip by hitchhiking.