Heart-warming story as Anna Lazarenko, 92, gets a new family to care for her after a decade in a retirement home.
Anna, who lives in Omsk region has been adopted by Valentina 'Valya' Primak, a doctor, and her husband Yury Anastasov. Picture: Vesti Siberia
When she was born, Vladimir Lenin ruled the country, just four years after the Bolshevik Revolution. When she reached adulthood, Anna survived the brutal and tragic Siege of Leningrad during the Second World War. Now, in the evening of her life, the pensioner longed again for a family, and her dream has come true, in the first adoption of its kind in Russia.
'The retirement home has heat and light, of course, and even plasma TVs, but I feel better at home,' explained Anna, who lives in Omsk region and has been adopted by Valentina 'Valya' Primak, a doctor, and her husband Yury Anastasov.
'It's quiet and comfortable here, no fuss, and Valya and Yury look after me well. They have a small farm of their own and I drink fresh milk.'
Anna, who recently turned 92, is disabled. She cannot walk and her eyesight is failing. It is hoped she will be pioneer for other elderly people to find homes with caring families.
Valentina explained that she had started working at Tavrichesky retirement home around the same time that Anna began living there.
'With time we became very close, almost like a family,' said Valentina. 'Granny Anya is quite lonely and no-one came to visit her. Her son and daughter-in-law had already died and her grandson has his own life. And she needed family warmth and heart-to-heart talks so much.
'So I began to come and visit her more often, bringing her something tasty from home and we eventually became friends. During the holiday when I was away she missed me, and could even refuse to eat . And I missed her too, so I suggested to my husband to take her live with us and he immediately agreed.'
'With time we became very close, almost like a family,' said Valentina. 'Granny Anya is quite lonely and no-one came to visit her. Her son and daughter-in-law had already died and her grandson has his own life. And she needed family warmth and heart-to-heart talks so much'. Picture: Vesti Siberia
With a sharp raise in the senior population in Russia, the government started thinking about alternative ways to ensure appropriate care about the elderly who are left alone. 'Adoption' could become such an alternative, especially since social care facilities do not meet the existing needs. In Omsk region alone there are already 600 people are waiting for a place in retirement homes.
This summer Omsk regional government approved the procedure of establishing foster families for the elderly and disabled, outlining the requirements that the family should meet. And Valentina's family is the first to adopt an elderly person.
'I want to say that I am very happy with everything,' said Anna. 'We live together and never fight, never have scandals. We're fine'.
Through his extraordinary photographs, Sergey Anisimov has done more than most to show real Siberia to the world.
Sightings of 'primeval monsters' in Siberia's Lake Labynkyr were made before 'Nessie' was spotted in Scotland.
Tsar's daughter may, after all, have escaped the execution which wiped out the royal family, says new book.
Kate Balkitskaya enjoys Black Russian cocktails in Siberian 'capital' Novosibirsk.