The Lykov family is a remarkable example of human resilience and dedication to their beliefs, having travelled far into the Siberian taigas of Abakan river basin — an isolated area in the Sayan Mountains — to escape persecution. In 1936, they had arrived with two children, and over the next four decades, the family endured punishingly harsh conditions with no contact from the outside world. Their existence wasn’t known until 1978 when a helicopter pilot discovered their dwelling during a geological expedition.
The Lykovs chose to remain in isolation despite contact from geologists; however, this life was not without its tragedies. Karp’s wife Akulina died of starvation in 1961 and three of his children passed away in 1981. After Karp’s death in 1988, only one person remains: his daughter Agafia Lykova. To this day, Agafia has remained steadfast in her seclusion deep in the wilderness of Siberia and continues to live a primitive lifestyle with no modern amenities or conveniences.
VICE has documented Agafia’s unique story set against an incredible backdrop of the Siberian taiga for viewers around the world. It is an inspiring journey that speaks to the strength and power of faith-driven courage as well as individual perseverance even under extreme duress and adversity. For those interested in learning more about this remarkable Russian Old Believers’ tale — a story of hardship, survival and faith — take some time to watch VICE’s short documentary about Agafia so you can get a glimpse into her day-to-day life living off the land and amidst nature’s beauty deep within Siberia’s vast wilderness.