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Tue Jan 29, 2013, 06:12 PM

Russian family lived in wilderness for 40 years and missed World War II

A family of religious refugees lived in the Siberian wilderness for 40 years completely cut off from civilization. According to an article published Monday in Smithsonian magazine, when archeologists found the Lykov family, they were on the verge of starvation and had no knowledge of major events of the last half century, including World War II.

The steep mountains and thick forests of Siberia make up the forbidding terrain known as the taiga. It is one of the most isolated and deserted places left on the planet, with winters that stretch from September to May. Its five million square miles are largely uninhabited save by bears and wolves and the occasional lonely villages, which are home to only a few thousand people. These chilly, pine-forested wastes stretch from “the furthest tip of Russia’s arctic regions as far south as Mongolia, and east from the Urals to the Pacific.”

Siberia provides Russia with much of its oil and mineral resources, but the terrain is treacherous to navigate in summer and impassable in winter. In the summer of 1978, a team of Soviet surveyors were flying over a heavily wooded valley looking for a safe place to land a crew of geologists. The sides of the valley, which was formed by a tributary of the Abakan River, were nearly vertical and almost impossibly narrow, with rows of slender pine and birch trees that tossed and swung in the downdraft from the helicopter rotor.

The pilot was looking for a place to set down when he saw something he did not expect, a clearing with man-made rows for cultivation. Some 6,000 feet up the mountainside, someone had dug a large garden. The surveyors reported back to the four scientists who were running the exploration mission that they had found signs of human habitation. The scientists were initially alarmed.

Journalist Vasily Peskov wrote in his 1990 book Lost in the Taiga that in this part of Siberia, “It is less dangerous to run across a wild animal than a stranger.”

<snip>

The door of the cabin opened and a barefoot old man came out, “straight out of a fairy tale,” Pismenskaya described him as looking “frightened and very attentive.”

“Greetings, grandfather,” she said to him. “We’ve come for a visit.”

Uncertainly, and seemingly with great reluctance, the old man said that since they had traveled so far, they might as well come in.

They found five people, the old man, Karp Lykov, 81, his sons, Savin, 54 and Dmitry, 38. Karp’s two daughters, Natalia and Agaifa, were 44 and 37. Karp and his wife Akulina had fled into the taiga with their family in 1936 to escape religious persecution. The Lykovs were members of a fundamentalist Russian Orthodox sect called the Old Believers, who had been subject to ridicule and harassment since the reign of Russia’s Peter the Great.

Living on potatoes, leaves and whatever animals Dmitry could hunt and kill, the family had survived in the wilderness, completely cut off from civilization. The two youngest, Dmitry and Agaifa, had never met anyone outside their own family.

More at: Raw Story (http://s.tt/1z647)

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Reply Russian family lived in wilderness for 40 years and missed World War II (Original post)
Playinghardball Jan 2013 OP
dipsydoodle Jan 2013 #1
AverageJoe90 Jan 2013 #14
dipsydoodle Jan 2013 #15
adieu Jan 2013 #19
kurtzapril4 Jan 2013 #20
AverageJoe90 Jan 2013 #29
bigwillq Jan 2013 #2
babylonsister Jan 2013 #3
Hekate Jan 2013 #17
enough Jan 2013 #4
joeunderdog Jan 2013 #5
derby378 Jan 2013 #7
joeunderdog Jan 2013 #13
Sherman A1 Jan 2013 #6
NutmegYankee Jan 2013 #8
duffyduff Jan 2013 #9
DollarBillHines Jan 2013 #32
Beacool Jan 2013 #33
Xithras Jan 2013 #10
adieu Jan 2013 #23
Beacool Jan 2013 #34
smirkymonkey Jan 2013 #11
ThoughtCriminal Jan 2013 #12
knitter4democracy Jan 2013 #16
Coyotl Jan 2013 #18
adieu Jan 2013 #21
Octafish Jan 2013 #22
mountain grammy Jan 2013 #24
whathehell Jan 2013 #25
senseandsensibility Jan 2013 #26
busterbrown Jan 2013 #27
undeterred Jan 2013 #28
jtuck004 Jan 2013 #31
tclambert Jan 2013 #30
bvar22 Jan 2013 #35
RZM Jan 2013 #36
senseandsensibility Jan 2013 #37
Honeycombe8 Jan 2013 #38
distantearlywarning Jan 2013 #39

Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 06:19 PM

1. They survived in the absense of civilisation.

Maybe an example for the future for us all.

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Response to dipsydoodle (Reply #1)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 07:47 PM

14. "Maybe an example for the future for us all." Nah, not gonna happen.

But, in all seriousness, I gotta give this family some serious props for being able to survive, alone, in Siberia.....for 40 years no less.

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Response to AverageJoe90 (Reply #14)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 07:50 PM

15. Well at least

the daughter don't go around whining about how much here mobile 'phone contract is costing for example.



btw - by deduction , using the daughter's age, this actually happened about 30 years ago.

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Response to dipsydoodle (Reply #15)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 08:01 PM

19. They were found in 1978

according to the article.

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Response to dipsydoodle (Reply #15)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 08:03 PM

20. I don't know anyone who does that either

do you?

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Response to dipsydoodle (Reply #15)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 08:28 PM

29. 35, actually, if my math skills serve me well.

This happened back in '78 from what I read.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 06:27 PM

2. You mean they ate MEAT?

They would NOT be welcomed here on DU!

BWAH!

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 06:32 PM

3. Just...wow! Sounds bloody awful to me. Reminiscent of Shoichi Yokoi...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shoichi_Yokoi

Shōichi Yokoi

Shōichi Yokoi
Native name 横井 庄一
Born March 31, 1915
Saori, Aichi Prefecture, Japan
Died September 22, 1997 (aged 82)
Allegiance Japan Empire of Japan


Shōichi Yokoi (横井 庄一 Yokoi Shōichi?, March 31, 1915 – September 22, 1997) was a Japanese sergeant in the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) during the Second World War. He was among the last three Japanese holdouts to be found after the end of hostilities in 1945, discovered in the jungles of Guam in January 1972, almost 28 years after US forces had regained control of the island in 1944.

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Response to babylonsister (Reply #3)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 07:59 PM

17. I remember when that guy was found

At least he was not in danger of freezing to death -- but the mosquitoes must have been hell.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 06:37 PM

4. An extremely focused group of people:

snip from the article>

Famine was an ever-present danger in these circumstances, and in 1961 it snowed in June. The hard frost killed everything growing in their garden, and by spring the family had been reduced to eating shoes and bark. Akulina chose to see her children fed, and that year she died of starvation. The rest of the family were saved by what they regarded as a miracle: a single grain of rye sprouted in their pea patch. The Lykovs put up a fence around the shoot and guarded it zealously night and day to keep off mice and squirrels. At harvest time, the solitary spike yielded 18 grains, and from this they painstakingly rebuilt their rye crop.

snip>

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 06:38 PM

5. They missed some really great wars.

And an escalating erosion of values and civility, too.

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Response to joeunderdog (Reply #5)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 06:55 PM

7. They also missed humanity walking on the moon

It wasn't all bad, y'know.

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Response to derby378 (Reply #7)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 07:46 PM

13. touche! nt

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 06:44 PM

6. Interesting

Thanks for posting.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 06:57 PM

8. Thanks! This was a cool read.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 07:02 PM

9. I suppose something like this could happen in a country as big as Russia

Let's just hope this isn't another Tasaday-like hoax.

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Response to duffyduff (Reply #9)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 09:04 PM

32. I have a dear friend who was raised in Norway

north of the Circle in a Laplander family of nomadic reindeer herders.

Her family was totally unaware of WWII. They knew something was going on because of the presence of non-Sami people, but they had the ability to "disappear" when necessary.

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Response to DollarBillHines (Reply #32)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 09:27 PM

33. Your friend was lucky to have missed WWII.

But what wonderful stories she must have told you.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 07:03 PM

10. Wow. And the youngest daughter still lives out there alone.

She's in her 70's...it's hard to imagine living your entire life in that kind of isolation.

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Response to Xithras (Reply #10)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 08:09 PM

23. I wonder if she has

twitter and facebook. She'll never be lonely. Oh, and internet porn.

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Response to Xithras (Reply #10)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 09:29 PM

34. I was thinking the same thing.

It must have been tough enough with her family around her, but alone???

Tough woman.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 07:18 PM

11. Fascinating!

I would love to hear more about this. It would be interesting to see them take a visit to "civilization" and see what they think of it. I am sure they would go running back as fast as possible.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 07:39 PM

12. And how is Comrade Stalin?

A: He's dead.

Oh God, that means Marshal Beria is General Secretary! (Vanish for another 40 years)

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 07:56 PM

16. I read that book. Fascinating reading.

It's worth reading.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 07:59 PM

18. You have to give them lots of credit for surviving and for picking a good placve to hide out

If they wanted to get away, they sure succeeded!

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Response to Coyotl (Reply #18)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 08:03 PM

21. Next door to

Eric Rudolph, I guess. Heheh.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 08:06 PM

22. Dersu Uzala

Kurosawa film about exploring that neck of the woods and the remarkable guide they find. Based on a true story...

http://www.criterion.com/current/posts/880-dersu-uzala

Thanks for the heads-up on the Lykovs. Incredible people.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 08:12 PM

24. Thanks, what a story. Think I'll read the book.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 08:18 PM

25. Amazing...Just freaking Amazing. n/t.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 08:19 PM

26. Very interesting read. The daughter would not leave

and is still there alone in her seventies? What a story. I won't go into detail, because I don't want to spoil it for those that haven't clicked on the link, but it's worth the read. Bookmarking.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 08:21 PM

27. Looks like the Doomsdayer/survivalists have found their new Gods...

Koch brothers will immediately fly survivors over to reap rewards and gifts and to keep the lune
fringe occupied with hope...

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 08:22 PM

28. Well, I hope its not a dysfunctional family.

Since they didn't get out to meet anyone else and all.

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Response to undeterred (Reply #28)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 08:59 PM

31. They weren't - until everyone else showed up. <G>

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 08:32 PM

30. I thought it was easier to travel in winter. Horse-drawn sleigh and such.

Frozen rivers make better roads than the muddy, rutted land based roads. Some historic tour guide told me that was the case in Michigan in the 1800s.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 11:36 AM

35. We live in the Backwoods of rural Arkansas.

What is this World War 2 of which you speak, stranger?

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 11:53 AM

36. There is a long tradition of conflict between 'Old Believers' and the state in Russia

 

These were people who opposed the Russian Orthodox liturgical reforms way back in the 1660s. Many of them fled for the east, where they could live and worship more freely.

Interesting that hundreds of years later, this type of thing was still happening. Of course, believers of all stripes had problems in Soviet times.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 08:32 PM

37. kick for those who haven't seen it

This is one of the most interesting reads I've ever seen posted on DU.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 08:42 PM

38. I'm thinkin' we're talking incest here.

Two grown sons with no women to have contact with, except their sisters.

If you've ever seen the movie, "The Savage is Loose," with Trish Van DeVere, you know what I mean.

Still, moving out there so long ago probably saved their lives.

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Response to Playinghardball (Original post)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 08:50 PM

39. Read this story earlier this week

One of the most interesting things I've read in a while

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