After hospital care, elderly Siberian hermit to return home

MOSCOW -- A 70-year-old Siberian hermit is returning to solitude and sub-zero temperatures after being airlifted to a hospital for treatment.

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Agafia Lykova was discharged from hospital care in Siberia's Kemerovo region on Tuesday, but will stay there until state emergency services can airlift her home, the Russian news site reported. Lykova was hospitalized after she notified "the mainland" of leg pain via satellite phone.

Lykova was born in the Siberian wilderness near the Mongolian border. Her parents, members of the Old Believers that broke away from the Orthodox church in the 17th century, had fled there in the late 1930s, fearing religious persecution in the Soviet Union. The family lived in isolation until geologists happened upon them in 1978.

Lykova has lived alone since her father's death in 1988. She has been out of the wilderness several times before for short periods of time, but prefers the familiarity of rural Siberia.

"There are so many cars. Why do you need so many?" Lykova said during an interview earlier this week with the Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda. "There's so much smoke from them, there's nothing to breathe."


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