Thursday, April 04, 2013

Surviving in the Siberian Wilderness for 70 Years (in 4 parts)

In 1936, a family of Russian Old Believers journeyed deep into Siberia's vast taiga to escape persecution and protect their way of life. The Lykovs eventually settled in the Sayan Mountains, 160 miles from any other sign of civilization. In 1944, Agafia Lykov was born into this wilderness. Today, she is the last surviving Lykov, remaining steadfast in her seclusion. In this episode of Far Out, the VICE crew travels to the taiga to learn about Agafia's lifestyle and the encroaching influence of the outside world.

In part one, the VICE crew leaves New York on their long journey to Siberia. After withstanding all the unexpected delays, they finally find themselves in a helicopter flying over the vast taiga to meet Agafia.

In part two, we see that despite the fact that Agafia is nearing 70 years old, she works tirelessly day in and day out to keep up her home. She starts her morning with prayers and then tends to her animals, collects firewood, prepares food, and even fends off the occasional bear.

Agafia's neighbor Yerofei has lived by the river near her cabins for the past sixteen years. He was part of the second wave of geologists who spent time visiting the Lykovs in the late 1970s, and eventually made the taiga his home after losing his right leg. Agafia has continued to care for him since he moved.

The outside world has crept into Agafia's life in a number of ways. Media attention, news and falling rocket debris have altered her perception of herself and the society she remains outside of, but overall Agafia's daily-to-day hasn't changed much. She maintains an almost childlike optimism that's made most evident through the smile she almost always has on her face.

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