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Author Topic: Way off the grid...  (Read 572 times)

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Offline ND Martin

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Way off the grid...
« on: January 30, 2013, 11:19:44 AM »
Here's an incredible story of a Russian family that survived in the Siberian forest for 40 years completely out of touch with any other people.  It's the ultimate 'bug-out' saga.  Some snippets...

          
During the purges of the 1930s, with Christianity itself under assault, a Communist patrol had shot Lykov's brother on the outskirts of their village while Lykov knelt working beside him. He had responded by scooping up his family and bolting into forest.

That was in 1936, and there were only four Lykovs then—Karp; his wife, Akulina; a son named Savin, 9 years old, and Natalia, a daughter who was only 2. Taking their possessions and some seeds, they had retreated ever deeper into the taiga, building themselves a succession of crude dwelling places, until at last they had fetched up in this desolate spot. Two more children had been born in the wild—Dmitry in 1940 and Agafia in 1943—and neither of the youngest Lykov children had ever seen a human being who was not a member of their family.
          

Life was unbelievably hard...

          
Isolation made survival in the wilderness close to impossible. Dependent solely on their own resources, the Lykovs struggled to replace the few things they had brought into the taiga with them. They fashioned birch-bark galoshes in place of shoes. Clothes were patched and repatched until they fell apart, then replaced with hemp cloth grown from seed.

The Lykovs had carried a crude spinning wheel and, incredibly, the components of a loom into the taiga with them—moving these from place to place as they gradually went further into the wilderness must have required many long and arduous journeys—but they had no technology for replacing metal. A couple of kettles served them well for many years, but when rust finally overcame them, the only replacements they could fashion came from birch bark. Since these could not be placed in a fire, it became far harder to cook. By the time the Lykovs were discovered, their staple diet was potato patties mixed with ground rye and hemp seeds.

...the Lykovs lived permanently on the edge of famine. It was not until the late 1950s, when Dmitry reached manhood, that they first trapped animals for their meat and skins. Lacking guns and even bows, they could hunt only by digging traps or pursuing prey across the mountains until the animals collapsed from exhaustion. Dmitry built up astonishing endurance, and could hunt barefoot in winter, sometimes returning to the hut after several days, having slept in the open in 40 degrees of frost, a young elk across his shoulders. More often than not, though, there was no meat, and their diet gradually became more monotonous. Wild animals destroyed their crop of carrots, and Agafia recalled the late 1950s as "the hungry years."...
          

You can't get closer to the edge than this...

          
Famine was an ever-present danger in these circumstances, and in 1961 it snowed in June. The hard frost killed everything growing in their garden, and by spring the family had been reduced to eating shoes and bark. Akulina chose to see her children fed, and that year she died of starvation. The rest of the family were saved by what they regarded as a miracle: a single grain of rye sprouted in their pea patch. The Lykovs put up a fence around the shoot and guarded it zealously night and day to keep off mice and squirrels. At harvest time, the solitary spike yielded 18 grains, and from this they painstakingly rebuilt their rye crop.
          

Never undestimate the human spirit.  It's also important to note that this family's will to survive was anchored firmly in their faith. 


Offline Bill Quick

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Re: Way off the grid...
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2013, 11:44:58 AM »
That is an amazing, and heartening story.

99.9999% of all people most likely wouldn't survive these conditions.  But they did.  And there seems nothing originally out of the ordinary about them, but for the fact that they ran and hid from the murderers of the state, rather than simply submitting.

Maybe that's the difference, the refusal to submit.

"You can get a lot farther with a kind word and a gun than a kind word alone."  --   Al Capone


Offline Flight-ER-Doc

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Re: Way off the grid...
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2013, 11:48:23 AM »
That is an amazing, and heartening story.

99.9999% of all people most likely wouldn't survive these conditions.  But they did.  And there seems nothing originally out of the ordinary about them, but for the fact that they ran and hid from the murderers of the state, rather than simply submitting.

Maybe that's the difference, the refusal to submit.




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Offline Paul

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Re: Way off the grid...
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2013, 03:11:59 PM »
I suspect they would attribute their survival to their belief in a higher power.  Although I am not religious, there may be something to that.  I know my mother's college roommate who survived Japanese imprisonment after the fall of Singapore was convinced that it was her faith that saw her through.  She was one of only 39 civilians who did not succumb to malnutrition and disease who were held in that particular camp.*

* Toward the end of the war the prisoners were held in an old brick factory.  I can well remember her telling my  parents how, even though they might have been blown to bits at any moment, the prisoners laid on the floor beneath the windows and cried in joy as the watched the first allied bombers fly overhead.  (The guards had warned that anyone attempting to stand at a window to watch would be shot. )  

Offline ND Martin

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Re: Way off the grid...
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2013, 03:18:30 PM »
It's more than the 'refusal to submit'.  That was why they bugged out, but not necessarily the source of their strength.  These were deeply religious people--fundamentalist Russian Orthodox Christians-- and I'm sure that their faith sustained them.  

When Dmitry caught pneumonia, the geologists tried to save him...
          
They offered to call in a helicopter and have him evacuated to a hospital. But Dmitry, in extremis, would abandon neither his family nor the religion he had practiced all his life. "We are not allowed that," he whispered just before he died. "A man lives for howsoever God grants."
          

יְהוָה נָתַן, וַיהוָה לָקָח; יְהִי שֵׁם יְהוָה, מְבֹרָךְ
אִיּוֹב א:כא --
 
« Last Edit: January 30, 2013, 03:23:08 PM by ND Martin »

Offline ND Martin

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Re: Way off the grid...
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2013, 06:42:55 PM »
Here's a documentary about the Lykov family.  It's in Russian, but the imagery is fascinating.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/AyQIGgeeYno" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/AyQIGgeeYno</a>

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/mP48SSf3XzU" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/mP48SSf3XzU</a>

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/ToufLFbCXUc" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/ToufLFbCXUc</a>

There's a map in part one that shows the location of the Lykov homestead.  Using Google Earth I found the approximate coordinates are 52°16'24.89"N  88°59'42.30"E

Here's the site using Google Maps.



 

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