The Lykovs, Russian Family That Lived Siberian Isolation for 40 Years

Russian family lived in Siberian isolation for 40 years

Lykov homestead. photo via Smithsonian Magazine

In 1978, Russian geologists surveying for minerals in Siberia stumbled upon a family of five that had been living in isolation for more than 40 years. Karp Lykov, the family’s patriarch, had led his family to the remote hillside some 150 miles from the nearest settlement in the 1930s to flee the religious persecution of Soviet authorities (the Lykov’s were Old Believers, a Russian Orthodox fundamentalist sect). For the next four decades they lived an extremely harsh existence in a crudely built log cabin, subsisting on what little food they could grow, forage, and trap. Two daughters were born in the wilderness but sadly the mother died of starvation in the 50s. After being discovered by the geologists, the Lykovs began dying off due to exposure to disease and decades of malnutrition. Remarkably the sole surviving Lykov, the youngest daughter Agafia, still lives in the Siberian wilderness where she was born. For more on the Lykov family, check out this Russiapedia article and Lost in the Taiga, a Russian language documentary.

Russian family lived in Siberian isolation for 40 years

Agafia and Karp Lykov shortly after their discovery by geologists. Photo via Smithsonian Magazine

Russian family lived in Siberian isolation for 40 years

Soviet press photo of the Lykovs and a geologist. Photo via Smithsonian Magazine

Russian family lived in Siberian isolation for 40 years

Recent photo of Agafia Lykov. Photo via Krasrab.net

Written by EDW Lynch

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