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Helicopter to fly food and hay to the loneliest woman in Russia

By The Siberian Times reporter
20 January 2014

Hermit Agafya Lykova to be sent urgent supplies this week to help her get through winter.

Agafya Lykova is the last of a family that settled on the Bolshoi Abakan River in the 1930s and lived in isolation until a geologist search party stumbled on them in 1978. Picture: Alexander Kuznetsov, Krasnoyarskiy Rabochiy 

The supplies will reach the recluse who last week begged for urgent assistance saying in a letter her health was deteriorating and she was short of food. 

Agafya, believed to be 68, is the last survivor of a family who fled deep into the Siberian taiga in the Stalin era, and remained undetected for more than 40 years. She was born in the small ramshackle homestead built by her father and knows no other life. 

Agafya has repeatedly refused to move to 'civilisation' - and the nearest town to her is hundreds of kilometres distant. A devout 'Old Believer', her letter - penned in block capitals and using an obsolete pre-revolutionary orthography - warned: 'I don't know how God will help me survive the winter. There aren't any logs. I need to get them into the house'.

Temperatures are around minus 20C but her appeal stated she was unable to light her large stove. 

She begged for a fellow Christian to live with her as a helped in her secluded existence in the Western Sayan Mountains, as reported previously by The Siberian Times. Now a helicopter will fly to her remote residence with food, 20 bales of hay, thread and other necessities, said a spokesman for Kemerovo Governor Aman Tuleyev who has taken an interest in Agafya since 1997.

The Old Believers, a religious movement that splintered from the Russian Orthodox Church in the 17th century, endured persecution both before and after the Bolshevik Revolution. She is the last of a family that settled on the Bolshoi Abakan River in the 1930s and lived in isolation until a geologist search party stumbled on them in 1978.

The Lykovs subsided mainly on trapped wild animals and cultivated potatoes. They had no firearms, no salt and did not know how to make bread.

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