Like many of Siberia's homeless, Alexei Vergunov (pictured below) survives freezing night-time temperatures of -30 degrees Celsius by sleeping under an industrial heating pipe for warmth.
It's a perilous existence. Too far from the pipe and he could die of exposure to the cold. Too close and he could get severe burns without him noticing at first through the haze of hard alcohol that many drink to keep warm and dull reality.
"I plan to go home, to mother," she said, though she recognises she cannot turn back the clock on 27 years on the street. "My childhood dreams were noble, but it's too late now, that boat has already sailed."
PHOTO EDITING MARIKA KOCHIASHVILI; WRITING TOM BALMFORTH; TEXT EDITING ED OSMOND; LAYOUT JULIA DALRYMPLE