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Hero Yakutian postman walked 350km through mud, taiga and icy water to deliver 97kg of post

By The Siberian Times reporter
23 November 2019

Afanasiy Polyatinskiy spent ten days taking letters and parcels to remote villages, carrying a gun because of threat of brown bear attacks.

Afanasiy Polyatinskiy at work in the post office of the village of Sangar, Yakutia. Picture: Afanasiy Polyatinskiy

The local Russian post office chief from the village of Sangar in Yakutia decided to walk all the way to the farthest village in his patch after an all-terrain vehicle broke. 

It happened back in May but it was only reported recently because Afanasiy didn’t consider his epic mail delivery as anything out of the ordinary. 

‘I simply had to decide what to do because I knew that people would suffer,’ said the 27 year old. 

‘It was their pensions in the post which for most of the elderly people in our area was the key part of their income. 

‘As the head of the post office I decided to walk,’ he said. 

Hero Yakutian postman walked 350km through mud and icy water to deliver 97kg of post 

Hero Yakutian postman walked 350km through mud and icy water to deliver 97kg of post 
Not your ordinary Postman Pat - Afanasiy set off from the village of Sangar (pictured above) on a ten day journey to deliver post. Picture: Yakutia24, The Siberian Times

The village of Sangar stands on the right bank of Lena River, some 422km north of regional capital Yakutsk. 

Every May the river spills out over a vast flood plain making it impossible for local planes to land and even for all-terrain vehicles or tractors to get through the muddy soil. 

The father-of-three wore waders to go knee-high in the Lena’s icy waters.

Afanasiy also faced mud, squelching sand, bogs and taiga paths with bears just waking up from hibernation.  

He carried more than his body weight in parcels and letters, plus a rifle, a long stick and a bag with a change of clothes.

Hero Yakutian postman walked 350km through mud and icy water to deliver 97kg of post 
Afanasiy Polyatinskiy pictured in his native Yakutia in winter. Picture: Afanasiy Polyatinskiy

His ‘normal’ postal delivery reminded him of childhood hunting trips with his father. 

He left the post office in Santar on 1 May, letting local police know about his itinerary which was obligatory given he carried pension money. 

‘I was in fact more nervous of (attacks by) people than of wild animals given the task I had,’ he said.

‘I am familiar with bears and know that if you treat nature with respect it will respond in the same way. 

‘Of course there could have been so-called wandering bears who have not yet taken over their own territory, but for that I had my rifle.’

Hero Yakutian postman walked 350km through mud and icy water to deliver 97kg of post 
After the story went on air on of the popular Vecherniy Urgant show, Russian Post promised to buy a new all-terrain vehicle for its Santar office

He walked around far-flung ten villages, and wherever it was possible local residents  gave him lifts for several kilometres. 

‘The further I went the lighter was my bag, so by the final point of my journey which was the village of Sayylyk, it only weighed 15kg,’ he said.

‘In Sayylyk I had a good sleep and drove back to Yakutsk because there is a way via a federal road. 

‘From Yakutsk I took a plane back to Sangar.’

The story about Afanasiy went around the local media and reached Russian federal TV. 

After it went on air on the popular 'Vecherniy Urgant' show, Russian Post promised to buy a new all-terrain vehicle for its Sangar office.

Comments (5)

Great job you have done. you have my full respect.
Dick Koedam, Ede Holland
04/12/2019 22:16
Dedication like that is very seldom seen. He is not only an inspiration to his co-workers but to me as well. Great job!
Brian Erdrich, Anchorage, Alaska
02/12/2019 06:55
A true everyday hero! He does what he has to do without hesitation. My deepest respect!
Eugen Eschner, Helsinki, Finland
29/11/2019 15:36
Hat off, and once more, hat off to the man! He for sure understood that people were depending on their anyway meagre pension! These are people HEROES are made off! And sort out the men from the boys!
MORAK Benedikt, Moscow
24/11/2019 11:17
Wow -my respect for this postman who think of people before convenience and comfort for himself. May he be an example for many other people....
Bente Petersen, Odense Denmark
23/11/2019 19:58

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