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Agafia

Russian Hermit Surviving in Taiga for 70 years

Deep in the forest of Khakassia in Eastern Siberia, a seventy-year-old woman lives on her own. Agafia Lykova is the last surviving member of a family of Old Believers, fundamentalists who split from the Orthodox Church in the 17th century when it introduced religious reforms. The Lykovs fled religious persecution and modern life in the 1930s, protected by the impenetrable taiga, and were only come across in 1978.

With RTD, hack your way 300 kilometres upriver to visit the hermit and her neighbour, elderly one-legged geologist Erofey Sedov, to see whether it’s possible to be entirely self-sufficient. While Agafia puts the RTD crew to work clearing a helicopter landing pad or feeding her goats, both she and Erofey make shocking, and competing, disclosures about the dark side of this unforgiving Eden.

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