Agafya update

Familiar to these blog pages is the Siberian hermit Agafya Lykova, now 73, a life-long hermit and last of her familiar of Old Believers, who fled to Siberia in 1936. Several media sources now report that the regional Russian governor has banned helicopter flights of food, supplies, and potential evacuation for medical treatment for Agafya in an effort to force her to return to civilization.


Russian forest hermit Yuri

In “A hermit’s life in a Russian forest,” Russia Beyond the Headlines profiles hermit Yuri, who lives in a forest dugout shelter filled with books, wood stove, food, computer and smartphone, and a pet rabbit. He lives near a highway and can get petrol for his generator. He reads, maintains social media, chops wood, and has a predilection for snow. Yuri is a former lawyer and lives in simplicity as a protest against modern values. Several photos.


Agafya medical update

A Guardian report indicates that Siberian Old Believer Agafya Kijov, 70, recently called in to medical authorities via satellite phone from her remote forest home to report a significant pain in a leg. She was airlifted to a hospital where doctors “removed” the source of the pain.


Her medical issue was resolved and she has returned to her taiga home.


Agafia Lykov film

British film director Rebecca Marshall is producing a film about the Siberian hermit Agafia Lykov, whose life and circumstances are familiar to readers of this blog. A Guardian article titled “Stalin, Siberia and salt: Russian recluse’s life story made into film” summarizes Agafia’s life and indicates details about the film:

When British film director Rebecca Marshall first heard about Lykova’s life, she was gripped. “For two years I couldn’t stop thinking about this incredible woman surviving alone in the Siberian wilderness. It seemed like both a paradise away from our world of mass communication, and a nightmare of loneliness.”

She said the reality of Lykova’s circumstances had surprised her. “When I finally met Agafia, what surprised me was that rather than feeling like a primitive situation, it felt like arriving in the future – to a world with no technology, the vast forest littered with discarded space junk. It is an incredible and beautiful place.”

The documentary, The Forest in Me, is intended as “a meditation on the nature of individual human identity”, she says.

Marshall, along with the director of photography, Sarah Cunningham, and Ukrainian-born assistant director, Elena Andreicheva, raised more than £14,000 in a crowdfunding campaign to get the project off the ground and received funding from Creative Europe.

Film trailer:

Agafya benefactors

Ongoing news about 71-year old Agafya Lykov, the Siberian Old Believer and hermit: An American couple, reports the Siberian Times,

Emilia and Luchian Marcov, who are devoted Old Believers, felt they heard a ‘call for action’ to travel to the other side of the world to be with elderly recluse Agafya Lykov. They want to spend two months with her in her primitive forest retreat and chant prayers, collect firewood and build her a better way to keep her home warm.Emilia said: ‘We have offered our humble hands and hearts to visit for a period of two months initially. During this time we will chant prayers with her in Old Slavonic, help her with firewood, gardens and whatever other way we can assist. We also hope to raise enough funds to help build her an efficient wood heater.

The couple lived at an Old Believers monastery in Romania and presently reside off-grid near an Amish settlement in Tennessee.


New Yorker: “Weather Man”

The Portfolio section of the New Yorker offers an eight-photo portfolio by Evgenia Arbugaeva titled “Weather Man: Life at a  Remote Russian Weather Station.” From the text:

Vyacheslav Korotki is a man of extreme solitude. He is a trained polyarnik, a specialist in the polar north, a meteorologist. In the past thirty years, he has lived on Russian ships and, more recently, in Khodovarikha, an Arctic outpost, where he was sent by the state to measure the temperatures, the snowfall, the winds. The outpost lies on a fingernail of a peninsula that juts into the Barents Sea. …

Evgenia Arbugaeva, a photographer who grew up in the Arctic town of Tiksi, spent two extended stays with Korotki. “The world of cities is foreign to him—he doesn’t accept it,” she says. “I came with the idea of a lonely hermit who ran away from the world because of some heavy drama, but it wasn’t true. He doesn’t get lonely at all. He kind of disappears into tundra, into the snowstorms. He doesn’t have a sense of self the way most people do. It’s as if he were the wind, or the weather itself.”


RT , Siberian Times on Agafia

Hermitary readers will be familiar with Agafia Lykov, the Siberian hermit and Old Believer. (Find more on Agafia in this blog, photos in Features, video in Films, and a review of the book Lost in the Taiga.)

RT visited Agafia and prepared a summary “Agafia’s Story: Old hermit lives alone deep in Siberian forest, seeks help” in preparation for premiering a documentary film.


An additional item with an emphasis on the difficult straits of Agafia expected in the upcoming winter months is presented by <i>Siberian Times</i> as “Bear threatens the loneliest woman in Russia who begs for a companion to join in hermit lifestyle.”