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The family that lived on a mountain for 80 years

The Lykovs are an Old Believer Russian family. Six members of a Khakassian family spent 42 years living in a semi-isolated area of the Abakan Range in the Tashtypsky District of Khakassia (southern Siberia). Since 1988, Agafia is the only surviving daughter. Agafia revealed in a 2019 interview that locals kept in touch with the family over the years and that a newspaper article about them appeared in the 1950s. Lost in the Taiga: The Fifty-Year Struggle for Survival and Religious Freedom in the Siberian Wilderness by journalist Vasily Peskov made their story widely known in 1994. Their faith was under attack in 1936. Immediately following the death of Karp Lykov’s brother, Karp and Akulina Lykov with their two children, Savin and Natalia, fled their hometown of Lykovo (Tyumen Oblast) eastward, escaping the Soviet Union. Two more children were born during the isolation, Dmitry and Agafia. Somehow they ended up in the taiga, 250 kilometers (160 miles) from civilization, near the Yerinat River (the Abakan river basin). A helicopter pilot flying a geological group into the area in 1978 discovered their location. Geologists tried to contact the Lykovs but they refused to leave. In 1961, Akulina starved to death after making the ultimate sacrifice to ensure the survival of her children. In 1981, three of the children died. Most likely due to their strict diet, Savin and Natalia developed kidney failure and died. Dmitry succumbed to pneumonia and was pronounced dead at the scene. In 1988, Karp died of a heart attack. Agafia Lykova, his daughter, has built a hut and a herd of goats and chickens over the years, and he is survived by her. Agafia shared a home with Yerofei Sedov, a geologist, for a period of ten years. She told VICE News that he was useless and that she had to provide him with water. Yerofei died on May 3, 2015.

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