Agafya Lykova is the last remaining member of a Russian family that took to the woods after her father’s brother was shot by Stalinist soldiers in 1936. As members of a breakaway sect of the Russian Orthodox church, Lykova’s family was subject to harassment and persecution, and so decided to flee far from Stalin’s grasp.
Agafya, now 71, has continued to live in her isolated cabin despite offers of accommodations in more settled areas.
For the first 35 years of her life, Agafya had no contact with anyone outside her family.
It was only in 1978 that a group of geologists accidentally stumbled across the family, with scientists reporting that Agafya spoke a strange language, 'distorted by a lifetime of isolation'.
Gradually, she came into contact with local authorities, but refused to leave her home despite the hardships.
Her home is frequently raided by hungry foxes and bears looking for food but officials expect her to still go home when she leaves hospital.
In the past, her family has been so hungry and desperate that they were once forced to eat their own shoes.
This week, after 70 years that have seen the deaths of her siblings and parents, famines caused by severe weather, and attacks by hungry animals- she finally needed to use that emergency option.