Influencer Under Fire For Visiting 'World's Loneliness Hermit' And Potentially Putting Her At Risk Of Covid-19
A social media influencer has been met with a huge backlash after she chartered a helicopter to visit the 'world's loneliest woman hermit', potentially putting her at risk of coronavirus or other modern infections.
Agafya Lykova, 76, lives in the Siberian wilderness - around 150 miles away from the nearest town.
Agafya, who lives as an 18th century peasant would, is a well-known Russian figure and is the last survivor after her family fled to the forest in 1936 to avoid religious persecution under Stalin.
The family managed to remain completely undetected by authorities for more than 40 years until their home - where Agafya still lives - was spotted from the air by Soviet geologists.
Agafya lives in the same tumbledown shack her father built - even though temperatures drop to as low as -45°C.
Russian officials who occasionally visit her try to ensure that they do not pass modern-day diseases to a woman who has had minimal contact with 'civilisation'.
But travel blogger Arina Shumakova is accused of ignoring such measures and flying out to Agafya by helicopter and even giving her a hug.
She could now be facing legal action over her 'unauthorised visit' according to local media.
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A spokesperson for the nature reserve in remote Khakassia where she lives, said: "They simply ignored all the legal requirements and visited.
"We asked the blogger to provide negative Covid-19 tests."
The spokesperson said she did not do so and she didn't wear PPE.
Her dad and brothers died after they were found and visited in the forest back in 1978 - it is believed their lack of immunity to modern diseases may have led to their deaths.
Director of Khakassky Nature Reserve Viktor Nepomnyashchy said she flouted 'moral, ethical and theological' norms. He added that they ignored the warnings and 'grossly violated the flight rules, failed to use personal protective equipment, and shot videos and photos without a permit'.
A lawsuit has since been filed against Shumakova and the pilot.
However, the 41-year-old blogger says Agafya was happy to see her and even gave her a hug.
She said: "The pilot strictly prohibited us even to touch Agafya. But when we were leaving, I told her: 'Agafya, I want to give you a hug so much, but I was prohibited.' And she told me: 'We can hug, he [the pilot] can't see!'"
She added: "I want to scream that I have seen Agafya with my own eyes... This is some sort of a dream."
Featured Image Credit: East2West