The Family Who Fled Civilization to Live in Siberia


This Smithsonian article has been pinballing around the Internet, and for good reason.

It tells the story of a team of Russian geologists who went to remote Siberia in 1978 and stumbled upon a family who had been living there for decades in order to escape civilization and practice a religion so fundamentalist that bread was forbidden.

It alternates between darkness (starvation, disease) and humor (the family’s reactions to cellophane and satellites), and it’s well worth a read.

Lauren O'Neal is an MFA student at San Francisco State University. Her writing has appeared in publications like Slate, The New Inquiry, and The Hairpin. You can follow her on Twitter at @laureneoneal. More from this author →