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The Taiga Incident: The Story of the Lykov Family

The Taiga Incident: The Story of the Lykov Family

By mariam elghazalyPublished 26 days ago 2 min read

The Taiga Incident: The Story of the Lykov Family

In the remote wilderness of Siberia lies one of the most extraordinary tales of survival and isolation in modern history. This is the story of the Lykov family, who lived in complete seclusion for over 40 years, cut off from the rest of the world.


In 1936, the Lykov family fled from religious persecution in the Soviet Union. They were Old Believers, members of a Russian Orthodox sect that had been persecuted for centuries due to their adherence to ancient rituals. To escape the authorities, Karp Lykov, his wife Akulina, and their two children, Savin and Natalia, retreated deep into the Siberian taiga, one of the most remote and inhospitable places on Earth.

Life in Isolation

The Lykovs built a crude log cabin and survived on what they could grow and forage. Their diet consisted primarily of potatoes and rye, supplemented occasionally by wild berries and nuts. Over the years, the family grew to include two more children, Dmitry and Agafia, born in the wilderness.

Their existence was rudimentary. They had no access to modern amenities and were entirely self-sufficient. Their clothing was made from hemp they grew themselves, and they relied on their own skills and knowledge to survive the harsh Siberian winters.

The Discovery

In the summer of 1978, a team of Soviet geologists conducting a survey in the remote taiga made a startling discovery. They stumbled upon the Lykov family’s homestead. The geologists were amazed to find people living in such extreme isolation. The Lykovs had no knowledge of World War II, the moon landing, or any other major events of the 20th century.

Interaction with the Outside World

The initial meeting between the Lykovs and the geologists was filled with surprise and caution. The family was wary of outsiders, having lived in fear of persecution for so long. Despite their apprehension, the geologists provided the Lykovs with some basic supplies and tools to help improve their harsh living conditions.

The Lykovs' health was remarkably good given their circumstances, though they suffered from malnutrition and the effects of their limited diet. However, the introduction of new germs proved fatal. Soon after the discovery, three of the children—Savin, Natalia, and Dmitry—died from illnesses to which they had no immunity.

Agafia’s Life Today

After the deaths of his children, Karp Lykov remained in the taiga with his youngest daughter, Agafia. Karp passed away in 1988, leaving Agafia alone. Despite the changes in the world and the passage of time, Agafia chose to continue living in the only way she had ever known. She remains in the Siberian wilderness to this day, receiving occasional assistance from visitors and supporters who bring her supplies and help with her needs.

Lessons from the Taiga

The story of the Lykov family is a powerful testament to human resilience and the will to survive against all odds. It highlights the lengths to which people will go to preserve their beliefs and way of life. The Lykovs' tale also serves as a poignant reminder of the impact of isolation and the rapid changes in the world from which they were shielded for so long.

In the end, the Lykov family's story is not just one of survival, but also one of faith, determination, and the profound human spirit that seeks to find meaning and continuity in even the most challenging of circumstances.

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    MEWritten by mariam elghazaly

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