World’s ‘loneliest woman who lives like a Mowgli’ getting new home in mountains

The "world’s loneliest woman” is getting a new home built so she can continue living hundreds of miles from her nearest neighbours.

Agafya Lykova, 76, has lived in the scenic mountains in Russia since her family fled religious persecution in 1936.

She is the sole survivor from her family, which was so cut off they had no idea World War Two happened.

All her life, she has lived as an 18th century peasant by growing her own food, shunning modern comforts and living by the Bible.

But there are now fears for her health if she continues to live in the shack where she was born.

The home was built by her father and brothers in the remote corner of Khakassia in Siberia, where bears and wolves roam.

Russian aluminium tycoon Oleg Deripaska has stepped in to ensure she can carry on in the wilderness.

A single storey home is under construction to give her more protection from the minus 50C cold expected this winter.

Special care is being taken to avoid her catching Covid-19 in the meantime.

Local official Alexander said: “We all take extreme care when visiting Agafya.

“Virus or no virus – she is like a Mowgli who has never come across modern day infections and diseases.

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“We know how disciplined and cautious we must be in making sure she stays safe.”

The new house provided by Deripaska, who has a £1.7billion fortune, is being delivered in at least 18 separate air-boat deliveries to the recluse’s ultra-remote hideaway.

Viktor Nepomnyashchiy, director of Khakassky Nature Reserve, said: “The new house will be well insulated.”

Deripaska also funded an “assistant” to help Agafya through the coldest months of winter.

Her family of devout Old Believers, an Orthodox religious sect, remained undetected by the Soviet authorities for more than 40 years after fleeing into the wilderness.

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Finally, their remote homestead and cultivated hillsides were accidentally spotted from the air by a group of Soviet geologists.

Nikolay Sedov, 56, son of one of the Soviet geologists who found the family in the 1970s, is helping her through the winter.

Her father and brothers died after they were found and visited in their remote forest in 1978, three decades after fleeing Stalin’s repressions.

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It is believed their lack of immunity to modern diseases was a key factor.

There was a Covid scare in July when social media influencer Arina Shumakova, 41, was accused of flouting safety measures and flying in with a team by helicopter to “hug” Agafya.

A spokesman for the nature reserve said: “They simply ignored all the legal requirements and visited.”

Nepomnyashchy said Shumakova flouted “moral, ethical and theological” norms and “grossly violated the flight rules, failed to use personal protective equipment, and shot videos and photos without a permit.”

But Shumakova, 41, claimed the hermit was happy to see her.

She said: “She told me: 'We can hug, he (the pilot) can't see!’'

She said: “I want to scream that I have seen Agafya with my own eyes.

“This is some sort of a dream.”

Old Believers split from the Orthodox Church in 1666 after protesting against reforms, and many moved to remote areas of Siberia in tsarist times.

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