Lykov family

Coordinates: 51°27′39″N 88°25′38″E / 51.46087°N 88.42713°E / 51.46087; 88.42713 (Lykov family dwelling)
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(Redirected from Lost in the Taiga)
Current regionAbakan Range
TraditionsOld Believers

Lykov family is located in Russia
Lykov family
Location of the Lykov family's settlement in Russia

The Lykov family (Russian: Лыков, romanizedLykov) is a Russian family of Old Believers.[1] The family of six spent 42 years in partial isolation from human society in an otherwise uninhabited upland of Abakan Range, in Tashtypsky District of Khakassia (southern Siberia). Since 1988, only one daughter, Agafia, survives. In a 2019 interview, Agafia explained how locals were in contact with the family through the years and in the 1950s there was a newspaper article about their family.[2]

Their story became well known following the 1994 publication of Lost in the Taiga: One Russian Family's Fifty-Year Struggle for Survival and Religious Freedom in the Siberian Wilderness by journalist Vasily Peskov.[3]


In 1936, their religion was under threat. After Karp Lykov's brother was killed by a Soviet patrol, Karp and Akulina Lykov with their two children, Savin and Natalia, fled their hometown of Lykovo (Tyumen Oblast) eastward. Two more children, Dmitry and Agafia, were born during the isolation. They ended up in a dwelling in the taiga, near the Yerinat River (Abakan river basin), 250 kilometres (160 mi) from any settlement. In 1978 their location was discovered by a helicopter pilot, who was flying a geological group into the region. The geologists made contact with the family, but the Lykovs decided not to leave the place.[4][1][5][6]

Akulina died of hunger in 1961, having sacrificed herself so that her children might survive. Three of the children died in 1981. Savin and Natalia suffered from kidney failure, most likely a result of their harsh diet. Dmitry died of pneumonia.[1] Karp died in 1988. He is survived by his daughter Agafia Lykova, who has over the years accumulated a herd of goats and flock of chickens and has built herself a decent hut. For 18 years, Agafia lived with one of the geologists, Yerofei Sedov. She has remarked to VICE News on his uselessness and how she must supply him with water.[7] Yerofei died on 3 May 2015.[8][citation needed] In that same year, Agafia received a helper, 53-year-old Georgy Danilov from Orenburg, who came to her residence answering an open letter she had written requesting such.[citation needed] In 2016, she was airlifted out to a hospital in Tashtagol, Russia, from her remote location near Kazakhstan's and Mongolia's borders. Her condition is related to cartilage deterioration in her lower extremities.[9][10] Agafia was treated at a hospital in Tashtagol, and has since returned to the wilderness, where she still lives as of 2019.[11]

Family members[edit]


  • Karp Osipovich Lykov (c. 1901[12] – 16 February 1988) (Russian: Карп Лыков)
  • Akulina Lykov (c. 1900[13] – 16 February 1961) (Акулина Лыкова)


  • Savin (c. 1927[1][12] – 1981) (Савин)
  • Natalia (c. 1934[1][12] – 1981) (Наталия)
  • Dmitriy (1940[1] – 1981) (Дмитрий)
  • Agafia (born 1944)[1] (Агафья)


The story of the Lykov family was told by the journalist Vasily Peskov in his book Lost in the Taiga: One Russian Family's Fifty-Year Struggle for Survival and Religious Freedom in the Siberian Wilderness (1994).[3] Peskov had written a series of reports on the family in the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper in 1982. The book became a bestseller in France, and the film rights were acquired by director Jean-Jacques Annaud.

Far Out: Agafia's Taiga Life is a documentary film about Agafia Lykova at the age of 70.[14][15]

Agafia is a documentary film about Agafia Lykova, produced by RT (Russia Today). It chronicles the history of Old Believers in Russia, the difficulties experienced by the documentary crew in travelling to Agafia's residence, the history of the Lykov family, animosity between Agafia and Yerofei Sedov, and Agafia's life in the taiga.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Mike Dash (29 January 2013). "For 40 Years, This Russian Family Was Cut Off From All Human Contact, Unaware of World War II". Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 30 January 2013.
  2. ^ 12 December 2019. Agafya Lykova. Hidden history (Youtube), Moscow Technological University (MIREA).
  3. ^ a b Peskov, Vasiliy Mihaylovich (1994) [1990]. Lost in the Taiga: One Russian Family's Fifty-Year Struggle for Survival and Religious Freedom in the Siberian Wilderness. Doubleday. p. 254. ISBN 978-0385472098. Russian: Таёжный тупик
  4. ^ "Lykov Residence". Retrieved 10 January 2015.
  5. ^ "Lykovo". Retrieved 10 January 2015.
  6. ^ Documentary on the Lykov family. Youtube
  7. ^ Surviving in the Siberian Wilderness for 70 Years (Full Length),
  8. ^ Friend to reclusive hermit dies, leaving Old Believer all alone again in taiga, The Siberian Times
  9. ^ "По распоряжению Амана Тулеева отшельница Агафья Лыкова проходит медицинское обследование в Таштагольской больнице". Кемеровская область. 14 January 2016. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
  10. ^ "Siberia: Woman Who Lived Her Entire Life in Wilderness Airlifted to Hospital". Sostre News. 16 January 2016. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
  11. ^ "Siberian hermit, 75, who 'lives in 18th century' refuses to be moved by Space Age". The Siberian Times. Retrieved 12 December 2019.
  12. ^ a b c Fyrnin, M. (1995). "Не таёжный тупик, а духовный путь Лыковых". «Чудеса и Приключения» (in Russian) (12).
  13. ^ Russia Today (2014). "Agafia. Hermit Surviving in Russian Wilderness for 70 years" (in Russian). {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  14. ^ "The Explorers Club - Events - NYC - Film Series - Far Out: Agafia's Taiga Life". 28 March 2013. Retrieved 7 June 2013.
  15. ^ "Agafia's Taiga Life | VICE United States". 1 April 2013. Retrieved 7 June 2013.

External links[edit]

51°27′39″N 88°25′38″E / 51.46087°N 88.42713°E / 51.46087; 88.42713 (Lykov family dwelling)