Updated at 18:29,16-01-2018

Belarus villagers prefer hard work to city smoke in pictures

Vasily Fedosenko, Reuters / The Guardian

Just a few hours drive from the Belarus capital of Minsk, many villagers still live off the land. Nearly 80% of the countrys 9.5 million citizens live in urban areas, but for the rest, being close to nature can outweigh the hardships of country life

Belarus villagers prefer hard work to city smoke  in pictures

Ekaterina Panchenya, 75, walks in the snow to her neighbours house, in the village of Pogost. I do everything myself: feed the animals in the barn, the chickens in the yard. The river is nearby, the forest, mushrooms and berries in the summer. No, Ill never in my life move to town, she said.
Photograph: Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters

Belarus villagers prefer hard work to city smoke  in pictures

Panchenya is also skilled in local folk traditions such as floral embroidery, acappella choral singing and ancient pagan ceremonies, which survived the ideological whitewashing of the Soviet era.
Photograph: Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters

Belarus villagers prefer hard work to city smoke  in pictures

Yulia Panchenya, 82, makes Easter cakes on the eve of Orthodox Easter in Pogost.
Photograph: Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters

Belarus villagers prefer hard work to city smoke  in pictures

Villagers take part in a ritual celebrating the pagan god Yurya, a time when they don national dress and make offerings out of colourful ribbons and paper in the hope of plentiful harvests in the future.
Photograph: Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters

Belarus villagers prefer hard work to city smoke  in pictures

Family photos in wooden frames on display in Yulia Panchenyas home.
Photograph: Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters

Belarus villagers prefer hard work to city smoke  in pictures

Women gather for the May-time ritual in honour of the pagan god Yurya.
Photograph: Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters

Belarus villagers prefer hard work to city smoke  in pictures

Ekaterina Panchenya visits her relatives graves during Orthodox Easter.
Photograph: Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters

Belarus villagers prefer hard work to city smoke  in pictures

Villagers in national dress participate in the spring festival.

Belarus villagers prefer hard work to city smoke  in pictures

An icon on display in Yulia Panchenyas house.
Photograph: Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters

Belarus villagers prefer hard work to city smoke  in pictures

Villagers buy food at the local grocery store.
Photograph: Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters

Belarus villagers prefer hard work to city smoke  in pictures

Ekaterina, granddaughter of 75-year old Ekaterina Panchenya, bathes her daughter Dasha in a basin on a hot summer day. It was cars, noise and dirt and the sight of city dwellers standing in line to buy groceries that dissuaded her from leaving Pogost.
Photograph: Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters

Belarus villagers prefer hard work to city smoke  in pictures

Boys cool off on a hot day playing in the river of Stviga near the village.
Photograph: Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters