​World's Oldest Woman Says She's Been Miserable Every Day Of Her Long Life

A Russian woman claiming to be the oldest person in the world has said that she's been miserable for every day of her long life - even referring to her lengthy existence as a 'punishment'.

Koku Istambulova, who hails from Chechnya, says she has no idea how she's managed to live this long, believing it is simply 'God's will' that she lives to see herself turn 129 next month.

Officials say that all of her documents were lost during the Second Chechen War, which ran from 1999 to 2009. However, claims from the Russian government that she will soon be 129 are based on her internal passport, which apparently shows her date of birth as 1 June 1889.

The oldest documented human lifespan is Jeanne Calment, from France, who died in 1997 at the age of 122 years, 164 days.

Istambulova's relatives say that her only daughter, Tamara, died five years ago - aged 104. They also explained that over the course of her long life she has also lost several other children.

Credit: East2West News
Credit: East2West News

Asked how she lived so long, Istambulova told an interviewer: "It was God's will. I did nothing to make it happen.

"I see people [who live long] going in for sports, eating something special, keeping themselves fit, but I have no idea how I lived until now.

"I have not had a single happy day in my life. I have always worked hard, digging in the garden.

"I am tired. Long life is not at all God's gift for me - but a punishment."

Istambulova continued to explain her experience with wars, having lived through several in her time - and that this makes her sure that her life 'was not a happy one'.

"I survived through the Russian Civil War [after the Bolshevik revolution], the Second World War, the deportation of our nation in 1944 and through two Chechen wars," she said.

Credit: East2West News
Credit: East2West News

"I remember tanks with Germans passing our house. It was scary. But I tried not to show this, we were hiding in the house.

"Life in Kazakhstan was the hardest for us. When in exile - we lived in Siberia too - but in Kazakhstan we felt how the Kazakhs hated us.

"Every day I dreamed of going back home. Working in my garden helped me to get rid of my sad thoughts but my soul always wanted home."

Istambulova is articulate and is also able to walk and feed herself, but her eyesight is failing.

"Looking back at my unhappy life, I wish I had died when I was young.

"I worked all my life. I did not have time for rest or entertainment.

"We were either digging the ground, or planting the watermelons. When I was working, my days were running one by one. And now I am not living, I am just dragging through."

The pension fund, which is a state body, claims there are 37 people over 110 years of age in Russia. But all of these claims - including Istambulova's - are all impossible to verify as there is little reliable birth records, or documentation from early childhood.

Featured Image Credit: East2West News

Jess Hardiman

Jess Hardiman is a journalist who graduated from Manchester University with a BA in Film Studies, English Language and Literature, and has previously worked for Time Out and The Skinny among others.

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