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The chronicles of Novosibirsk

Russia's last Mohican: 61 year old hermit refuses to leave deserted military garrison

By The Siberian Times reporter
10 April 2018

Last survivor of prominent base for assault and reconnaissance planes deserted since collapse of the Soviet Union.

Kuznetsov became famous among the locals as Pristan Hermit. Picture: PrimaMedia

Alexander Kuznetsov, 61, is the last soul of Pristan (The Pier) military base.

He moved to work at the garrison as an electrician thirty years ago when the Red flag still flew over the Kremlin. 

The base and a nearby airfield were a busy home for aerial reconnaissance, deck aviation and ground attack planes of the Pacific Fleet during the Soviet era. 

Servicemen lived in several 5-storey blocks of flats next to the airfield - now like a ghost town except for the lone survivor.  

In 1992 the military unit was disbanded, servicemen and their families were moved elsewhere in Russia. 

Many people left in a rush, leaving their belongings behind.

Alexander Kuznetsov


Alexander Kuznetsov


Alexander Kuznetsov

Alexander Kuznetsov, 61, is the last soul of Pristan (The Pier) military base. Picture: PrimaMedia

Alexander saw marauders from nearby villages going through flats and driving away with cars full of goods and chattels, in Shkotovsky district of Primorsky region, about 90 km north-east of Vladivostok. 

‘What once belonged to the state, like metal wiring and pipes, even metal parts of buildings base, everything was cut off and taken away. The whole four storey tall block of flats collapsed after several ‘attacks’ by hunters for state good’, Alexander said. 

His wife died before the garrison was shut; he was offered a choice of moving back to the 'mainland', but chose to stay. 

‘It was a conscious decision, life was getting more and more expensive and new Russia was going through money reforms and hyper inflation. I knew I didn’t have to pay for that place, and stayed behind after the last serviceman was gone’, Alexander told Prima Media, the local news agency. 

Alexander Kuznetsov


Flat


Flat


Flat


Flat


Flat

In 1992 the military unit was disbanded, servicemen and their families were moved elsewhere in Russia. Many people left in a rush, leaving their belongings behind.

There were several other men and women who didn’t want to leave, but gradually everyone moved out. Alexander lived alone in a one room flat in a block that has had  no water or electricity supply for more than 15 years. 

Kuznetsov became famous among the locals as Pristan Hermit, many were traveling to check upon his health, and bring new clothes, food and medicines. 

‘I love visitors. It is a lot easier to live without basic comfort than without a good talk. I have a cat called Lyusya, recently she had three kittens, it was a big event in my life to help her welcome them’, Alexander said. 

Years ago somebody presented him with an old fashioned ‘Burzhuika’ stove which he heats up with logs. 

He uses rain water (or melts snow) to wash himself, to drink and cook. 

There is a library of two hundred books which the last Mohican claims to know by heart. 

Pristan (The Pier) military base.

Pristan


Pristan


Pristan


Pristan

Comments (5)

Interesting! It sounds like the man is helped out by people in the area. Was very taken by your reference analogy to James Fenimore Cooper's"The Last of the Mohicans" Didn't realize that would - still - be a generally recognizable name.
Phil Jones, Olympia, WA USA
25/05/2018 11:23
0
0
Ekaterina N, а вы видите, что в статье написано, что Пристань находится в СибирИ? Покажите пожалуйста это место, я что-то не могу найти....
Sasha, Tyumen
15/04/2018 13:25
0
1
Пристань находится в Приморском крае,а не в Сибире.
Ekaterina N, Bolshevik Kamen.
15/04/2018 13:14
1
0
if it makes him happy, people should leave him in peace there. obvious maybe once in a while to check up on him, nothing wrong with that. if he needs anything. one does not get younger after all....
Benedikt MORAK, Moscow
14/04/2018 13:19
17
1
My visits to siberia are always filled with amazing people who have stories that mystify me with their uniqueness.
Bruce, Houston, USA
13/04/2018 19:02
17
2
1

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