Author Topic: Survival in Siberia: Family lives off the land for 40 years  (Read 3251 times)

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Survival in Siberia: Family lives off the land for 40 years
« on: February 15, 2013, 09:46:37 PM »
I stumbled across this on FerFAL's blog and, since he lifted the story from the Smithsonian, I figured it's fair game for posting here.  He's very skeptical of living off the land and is using this story as an illustration of what to expect when you run off to the forest.

In a nutshell, family flees so deep into the wilderness that they have no contact with civilization until 1978.  Life was so tough, especially after the tools wore out, that the mother starved to death keeping her kids alive.

Communism starts to look appealing when compared to this lifestyle.  Let's see.....drink myself to death on state vodka rations, or eat bark barefoot in the snow?
23:57:30

Offline Cedar

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Re: Survival in Siberia: Family lives off the land for 40 years
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2013, 09:36:04 AM »
I was reading this a couple weeks ago when it hit the news. This family was merely surviving (and not very well at that), not living. They would have picked up the potato peelings off the floor and not left them there. They were living in filth.

"...and had an uncombed beard. His hair was disheveled."
. I have made  combs from bone.. in 40 years they could not have found bone or antler or even wood in all that time? They did catch elk according to the article. The Old Believers I see on a daily basis are clean folk. And do not interact with non-Old Believers often. One lady which I would dearly love to be her friend.. and she mine, cannot easily have me over for tea. They keep their children isolated except for community until they are 16. They then send the children to our high school. We also have Molokans (Russian for "milk-drinkers") in the area and there is a fine line between the two.

These also do not sound anything like the limited Old Believers I know. We have many in my area (around 20,000) . There are only something like three communities of them outside of Russia I think my friend Olga told me (who is Othodox Russian). This man almost sounds cultish, although it was just with his family.

"Every year we held a council to decide whether to eat everything up or leave some for seed." -- But no one held council if they should peek in on civilization to see what was happening in the world in a few years to decades? It was better to starve and freeze?

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."
-- I am figuring this would take a minimum of 5 years from one grain the 1st year, 18 grains the 2nd, , 324 grains the third, 5,832 the fourth, etc. to get a loaf of bread for on meal for 4-5 people (depending on when mom died).

After living fairly remote I can understand how this family became solitary and hermit-like. I understand how in as little as three months without seeing outside people you forget society a bit. I have seen people who were isolated turn into the 'classic unsociable hermit' and how is takes a long time to understand society again.

Again, in my book these people were merely eking out enough to keep breathing most years, and it sounds like some years they were failing. But due to their religion I can see why they left and stayed as religion was top priority for them.

I just hope that the remaining daughter has replenished seeds, someone has given her a pot to cook in and check in on her now and again.

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Online FreeLancer

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Re: Survival in Siberia: Family lives off the land for 40 years
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2013, 10:22:22 AM »
These also do not sound anything like the limited Old Believers I know. We have many in my area (around 20,000).

I'd forgotten that fact and didn't connect this family's background with those living in the Willamette Valley.  As a kid I remember my dad visiting a patient in a Russian community in the Mt. Angel area and feeling obligated to choke down their homemade blackberry wine, which was funny because he abhors alcohol but didn't want to offend their sense of hospitality.  As I remember it, he took my stern tea-totalling grandfather with him, too, and he enjoyed the wine so much that he got seconds.
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Offline cheryl1

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Re: Survival in Siberia: Family lives off the land for 40 years
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2013, 11:24:45 AM »
They keep their children isolated except for community until they are 16. They then send the children to our high school.
I'll bet that 's a culture shock for the kids!
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Offline MTUCache

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Re: Survival in Siberia: Family lives off the land for 40 years
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2013, 07:48:43 AM »
Wow... very interesting story. Thanks for the link!

I struggle a bit to see how this would correlate to a "flee to the woods" scenario though.
This article is about a family with ZERO inputs outside of nature, and in a very tough climate as well.

Almost without exception, I can't imagine a "flee to the woods" scenario that would end up that tough. There will always be some kind of input from the "outside" world... even if it's just stealing from a local farm or new refugees joining the group. Plus, at least for those of us here in the continental US, there will be somewhere within a hundred miles or so that will have a better climate than Siberia.  :P

What this family has gone through is more of what i would equate to a "rebuild the species" situation... complete isolation, complete annihilation of everything within hundreds of miles. Waterworld type stuff.

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Re: Survival in Siberia: Family lives off the land for 40 years
« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2013, 06:26:53 PM »
Here's a recent documentary of the sole surviving family member still living at the homestead at age 70.  She obviously gets by with significant support from the outside world now.  But despite that, it still looks to be a very hard existence, especially since she's burdened by a lazy, peg-legged, lecher who moved next door.
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