In the early 1980s. a series of publications about the family appeared in the Soviet press hermits-Old Believers Lykovwho spent 40 years in voluntary exile in the Sayan taiga, abandoning all the benefits of civilization, in complete isolation from society. After they were discovered by geologists and journalists and travelers began to visit them, three family members died from a viral infection. In 1988 the father of the family also died. Only Agafya Lykova survived and soon became the most famous hermit in the country. Despite her advanced age and illness, she still refuses to move from the taiga.
The Old Believers Karp and Akulina Lykovs with their children fled to the taiga from the Soviet regime in the 1930s. On the bank of a mountain tributary of the Erinat River, they built a hut, were engaged in hunting, fishing, picking mushrooms and berries, weaving clothes on a homemade loom. They left the village of Tishi with two children - Savvin and Natalya, and two more were born in secret - Dmitry and Agafya. In 1961, her mother, Akulina Lykova, died of hunger, and 20 years later Savvin, Natalya and Dmitry died of pneumonia. Obviously, in conditions of isolation from society, immunity was not developed, and they all became victims of a viral infection. They were offered pills, but only the younger Agafya agreed to take them. This saved her life. In 1988, at the age of 87, her father died and she was left alone.
They began to write about the Lykovs back in 1982. Then the journalist Vasily Peskov often came to the Old Believers, after which he published several articles in Komsomolskaya Pravda and the book Taiga Dead End. After that, the Lykovs often found themselves in the center of attention of the press and the public, their story thundered throughout the country. In the 2000s, the Lykovs' settlement was included in the territory of the Khakass reserve.
In 1990, Agafya's seclusion for the first time stopped for a while: she took tonsure in an Old Believer convent, but a few months later she returned to her house in the taiga, explaining this by “ideological differences” with the nuns. She also did not work out with relatives - they say that the hermit's character is quarrelsome and complex.
In 2014, the hermit turned to people for help, complaining of her weakness and illness. Representatives of the administration, employees of the Ministry of Emergency Situations, journalists and the niece of Alexander Martyushev, who tried to persuade her to move, went to see her. Agafya gratefully accepted food, firewood and gifts, but refused to leave her home.
At the request of the head of the Russian Old Believer Church, Metropolitan Korniliy, an assistant was sent to the hermit - 18-year-old Alexander Besshtannikov, who came from a family of Old Believers. He helped her with the housework until he was drafted into the army. For 17 years, Agafya's assistant was former geologist Erofei Sedov, who settled with her next door after retirement. But in May 2015, he died, and the hermit was left completely alone.
In January 2016, Agafya had to break off her seclusion and again turn to people for help - her legs hurt badly, and she called a doctor on the satellite phone left for her by the local administration for emergency calls. She was taken from the taiga by helicopter to a hospital in the city of Tashtagol, where she was examined and found out that Agafya had an aggravation of osteochondrosis. The first measures were taken, but the hermit refused long-term treatment - she immediately began to rush back home.
Considering Agafya Lykova's advanced age and the state of her health, everyone again tried to persuade the hermit to stay among the people, to move to her relatives, but she flatly refused. After staying in the hospital for a little over a week, Agafya returned to the taiga again. She said that it was boring in the hospital - “just sleep, eat and pray, but the house is full of things to do.”
In the spring of 2017, the employees of the Khakassky Nature Reserve traditionally brought food, things, letters from fellow believers to the hermit and helped with household chores. Agafya again complained of pain in her legs, but again refused to leave the taiga. At the end of April, she was visited by the Ural priest, Father Vladimir. He said that the assistant George lives with Agafya, whom the priest blessed to support the hermit.
The 72-year-old hermit explains her unwillingness to move closer to people and civilization by the fact that she promised her father never to leave their homes in the taiga: “I will not go anywhere and by the force of this oath I will not leave this land. If it were possible, I would gladly accept co-religionists to live and pass on my knowledge and accumulated experience of the Old Believer faith. " Agafya is sure that only far from the temptations of civilization can one lead a truly spiritual life.
They became the most famous hermits in the country: The Lykovs are Old Believers who have lived for 40 years in the "Taiga impasse".