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Billionaire Backs Hermit To Help Her Make It Through Siberian Winter

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Billionaire Backs Hermit To Help Her Make It Through Siberian Winter

A Russian billionaire and close ally of President Vladimir Putin has stepped in to save the livelihood of a famous hermit who lives alone in a remote forest in Siberia.

Agafya Lykova is the last surviving member of her family, who fled into the wilderness back in 1936 to avoid religious persecution under the former Soviet leader Josef Stalin.

Lykova was born in the forest, and that's pretty much where she wants to stay, living out her days working the land and basically being left well alone by everyone else.

To put into context how isolated she's been, the entire Second World War took place without her family even knowing it was happening.

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Agafya Lykova. Credit: East2West News
Agafya Lykova. Credit: East2West News

It could be doubly important that she is left alone as it's thought that she may be very susceptible to modern diseases, and - obviously - at risk of catching coronavirus.

Lykova is one of the Old Believers - a sect of the Orthodox Church - that were forced into hiding by the Soviet government and remained undiscovered for more than 40 years before a geologist accidentally stumbled across their settlement while flying overhead.

Now, she's about to batten down the hatches for yet another tough Siberian winter, but this time she's got some powerful help behind her.

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Amid fear that she might die due to the conditions, aluminium tycoon Oleg Deripaska - who is Russia's 41st richest man and has a personal fortune of $2.3 billion (£1.74 billion) - has stepped in to provide some basics for her to make it through.

Oleg Deripaska. Credit: East2West News
Oleg Deripaska. Credit: East2West News

Agafya has repeatedly turned down offers of a move to 'civilisation', but will now have enough food and firewood, as well as an 'assistant' to help her endure the cold winter.

The son of one of the geologists that discovered her family, 56-year-old Nikolay Sedov, will help her out with her farm and livestock, and also help take special care that she doesn't get exposed to the virus.

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Her father and brothers died after they were visited in 1978, which is thought to be a consequence of their lack of resistance to modern illnesses.

In July, there was a scare when an influencer and her team flew in to attempt to 'hug' Agafya, against all guidance and common sense.

According to the Director of Khakassky Nature Reserve - where Agafya lives - Viktor Nepomnyashchy, influencer Arina Shumakova disobeyed 'moral, ethical and theological' norms to visit her.

Agafya seems happy enough, to be fair. Credit: East2West News
Agafya seems happy enough, to be fair. Credit: East2West News
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He added that she 'grossly violated the flight rules, failed to use personal protective equipment, and shot videos and photos without a permit'.

At least it seems as if Agafya will be able to spend this winter safely, and in the isolation she seems to enjoy so much.

Featured Image Credit: East2West News

Topics: World News, Weird, Russia

Tom Wood
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