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Bear threatens the loneliest woman in Russia who begs for a companion to join in hermit lifestyle

By The Siberian Times reporter
19 September 2014

Mercy mission brings stores for Agafya Lykova to help her survive the winter in her remote retreat.

As Agafya's years advance, concern grows - but she refuses to leave hermit life. Picture: Kemerovo region press service

New video footage of this remarkable woman was released to The Siberian Times - please see it here, with thanks to the Kemerovo region press service. 

Agafya was born nine years after her family retreated into the Siberian wilderness in 1936 to escape religious persecution under Stalin. For more than three decades, the devout Old Believers remained undetected until their remote homestead was spotted from the air by Soviet geologists. 

The rest of the family died between 1961 and 1988, since when Agafya has lived alone, eschewing modern ways and, for example, using flint to light fires. 

Now, as her years advance, concern grows for her, but she refuses to leave her hermit life and move to a 'civilisation' she has never seen and doesn't trust.

She, too, however, has concerns over how she will cope now, and longs for a helper who shares her strict religious beliefs and is ready to forgo modernity to help her survive.

Bear threatens the loneliest woman in Russia who begs for a companion to join in her hermit lifestyle


Bear threatens the loneliest woman in Russia who begs for a companion to join in her hermit lifestyle


Bear threatens the loneliest woman in Russia who begs for a companion to join in her hermit lifestyle


Bear threatens the loneliest woman in Russia who begs for a companion to join in her hermit lifestyle


Bear threatens the loneliest woman in Russia who begs for a companion to join in her hermit lifestyle


Bear threatens the loneliest woman in Russia who begs for a companion to join in her hermit lifestyle

A team from the governor of Kemerovo region arrives with supplies of food. Pictures: Kemerovo region press service

This summer she has been bothered by a wild bear, which has sniffed around her huts in search of food.

'I scare it by banging on an empty bucket,' she said to a group led by Vladimir Makuta, head of Tashtagol district of Kemerovo region, who flew in by helicopter to bring her essential supplies of hay, grain, and potatoes, while also cutting firewood.

In some time the bear will hibernate but this is not the only problem. 'I don't know about how will I get through the coming winter,' said Agafya, who will be 70 on 23 April next year (though some accounts say she has reached this milestone already).

'I didn't manage to finish half of the hay I need for my goats, and some of them are not giving milk. I have six goats now, and I can only milk a couple of  them.

'And my logs are not ready. I really don't know.'

Previously Agafya had a 'helper' - a priest's son Alexander Besshtanikov, aged 18, from Tomsk - who came to live with her from February to April, but then left  evidently unable to cope with the isolation though he also had to report for army conscription. 

'As soon as we have somebody ready, when somebody wishes to come and join you, we will send this person over, but you must understand we can not force people into it,' said Vladimir Makuta. 

She replied dolefully: 'People came here to film me with a camera - they said if I speak and they film me, millions of people around the world will see that I need help and somebody will come'. 

Bear threatens the loneliest woman in Russia who begs for a companion to join in her hermit lifestyle


Bear threatens the loneliest woman in Russia who begs for a companion to join in her hermit lifestyle

Agafya filmed talking to Vladimir Makuta and on her own. Pictures: Kemerovo region press service

In fact, Afafya is not quite alone - for some years Timofey Sedov, a one-legged hunter and former geologist, lives along the river from her in his own shack. 

'Agafya is a person who never stops working. Compared to her, I am extremely lazy. When I can't catch fish, she puts nets in the river and gets enough to feed herself and also help me. She is a person of an extraordinary destiny', he said. 

'On balance, Agafya seems to be in a good mood. She is busy fishing and looking after her vegetable garden, finishing the work before the first snow, and as ever is not intending to move closer to people,' said Vladimir Makuta. 'She was grateful for our help, and passed her best wishes to Aman Tuleev.

'There was a young helper who came to live with Agafya, but he left, longing for people'.

Agafya's father Karp Iosifovich (the head of the family) and his wife Akulia deliberately cut themselves off from the world. Akulina died in 1961. 

When they were found in 1978, her brothers Savvin, then 45, and Dmitry, then 36, and sister Natalya, then 42, were all alive. The three other children died in 1981 and Karp in 1988. 

Comments (13)

hi, was very impressed by the story of this woman, I know if there are developments? how are you? He found a help?
many thanks, we wait. Agafya of friends in Italy
bruno cortelazzi, b.cortelazzi@alice.it
29/04/2016 16:14
0
0
Perhaps Vyacheslav Korotki, retired meteorologist from the Khodovarikha meteorological station, recently retired in Arkhangelsk, would be interested - he is accustomed to living in the northern reaches in extreme isolation. Probably Evgenia Arbugaeva knows how to get in touch with him.
http://www.loeildelaphotographie.com/2015/03/12/exhibition/27441/paris-weather-man-by-evgenia-arbugaeva
Aga Yuriko, Boston, MA
27/10/2015 06:51
0
0
I absolutely agree she is treasure. I am envious of Igor. Good luck. Keep your eyes and mind open.

P.S: Is there anyone who is able to speak with me russian.I really love this language. I can teach you czech which is very similar. Thank you.(mirkakrejcova@seznam.cz)
Mirka, Czech Republic
30/09/2014 01:57
5
1
I hope this brave lady finds companionship and friends to last her the rest of her life. It must be amazing to live away from this madhouse called civilization. Best of wishes to her Maans
Maans Smit, Cape Town, South Africa
25/09/2014 18:09
6
0
I hope this brave lady finds companionship and friends to last her the rest of her life. It must be amazing to live away from this madhouse called civilization.

Best of wishes to her

Maans
Maans Smit, Cape Town, South Africa
25/09/2014 17:59
3
0
Looks like the river runs from the West to the East. The buildings, and the land for their garden is on the North side of the river. In the Winter when its cold, it is in the most ideal place to get the most sunshine.
The first people that found that place were very smart. They picked out the best spot in the whole area.
People could learn many good valuable lessons from this lady, she is a treasure chest full of experience and information. I just hope she will be around to share it, for many more years in the future.
Maybe someday that place could be a tourist hideaway. People that want to learn how to live off of the land, and be self sufficient in Siberia, or any other similar climate, Alaska, Canada, and others.
Darwin Hardy, Hurricane, Utah USA
24/09/2014 11:03
27
0
I see the latitude is the same as Calgary Alberta Canada, only with No roads.
I hope this good lady can make many good and trustworthy friends, that will care about her.
Darwin Hardy, Hurricane, Utah USA
24/09/2014 00:37
8
0
I apologise for my last comment...I had not seen the video because it would not play the first time I tried to watch it...wow, those helicopter crew were amazing & done great work & travel to get to her & her neighbours And now I understand why she was writing.


And I hope she finds that good companion to join her & has a great future.
jojnjo, Dublin
23/09/2014 23:19
4
0
I'm not surprised she want to stay where she it...for that's what she's used to. One thing I did notice was that she was made to (it seems) sign for something in the picture. I hope she's not signing her life away?!


Anyway, I wish her well in the future & I hope she finds what she's looking for...a good companion.
jojnjo, Dublin
23/09/2014 22:40
2
0
2 Darwin Hardy


You can find place where she lives on GOOGLE EARTH 51*27'40.03"N 88*25'35.18"E


I'm going to be there in a few days!
Igor, Russia
23/09/2014 09:57
31
1
Does anybody have a GPS of where this place is? I would like to see it on GOOGLE EARTH. (I am here in America.)
Darwin Hardy, Hurricane, Utah USA
22/09/2014 03:03
4
1
Does anybody have a GPS of where this place is? I would like to see it on GOOGLE EARTH. (I am here in America.)
Darwin Hardy, Hurricane, Utah USA
22/09/2014 02:49
3
1
Wow ! What can one say ? At loss for words. She'll survive the winter, she's a siberian, They don't come much tougher than that , Good Luck Agafya .

Patrick

Patrick Travers, Perth Australia
19/09/2014 19:02
19
0
1

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