Lecha lives in the village of Spirdovo. A miner from Donbass, he says he feels most comfortable living far away from other people. When he’s not drinking in the neighboring village, Lecha picks berries and hunts for wildlife. His house is a mess.Which struck me as exactly the fantasy of many civilization-sick Americans. It is possible to live this way, if you don't mind spending Russian or Alaskan winters in a hut with a metal roof and holes in the walls.
“I arrived here when I was twenty-something. Closed my eyes, pointed at the map and hit Kostroma. I get a minimum pension payment, but it’s enough for me. We have groundwater, I don’t need to pay an electricity bill. All the money I get I spend on food and alcohol. If you want to earn something, pick berries or mushrooms, go fishing, set traps, do as you wish–no need to go anywhere. I don’t know why everyone is leaving! They had everything they needed there. Perestroika came, and everybody fled to the city.”
And then it struck me as telling that none of the tens of thousands of people swarming out of Syria, Sudan, Eritrea, and other miserable places are trying to get to Russia, where is plenty of room for them.