Russian Robinson Crusoe: a stunning true story of 1847

Russian Robinson Crusoe: a stunning true story of 1847
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In 1847, a 24-year-old metropolitan coxcomb, a hereditary nobleman and a retired cavalryman, Sergei Lisitsyn, stepped on the deck of a ship under the St. Andrew's flag, seeking to get to America from Russia across the Pacific Ocean. He was well received by the officers but one day he got drunk and got into a brawl with the ship’s captain. He spoke insolently to the commander of the ship and began to incite the sailors to mutiny. The captain ordered the instigator to be tied up, blindfolded, and put on a deserted beach, with a note…

When the prisoner freed himself from his bonds and tore the blindfold from his eyes, he saw the departing ship on the horizon. Noble captain left him a suitcase full of clothes, three pairs of boots, a fur coat, because the sea of Okhotsk is not in the tropical zone; a pair of pistols, a sword, a dagger, some sugar and tea, a gold pocket watch, a folding knife, a pound of crackers, two jars of vodka, clean notebooks, shaving tools, flint and steel, a supply of matches and even 200 Havana cigars.

It was accompanied by an excellent rifle with 26 charges and a note from the captain of the ship saying: “Dear Sergei, you should have been sentenced to death under the Naval regulations. However, for the sake of your youth and your remarkable talents, and above all, your kind heart I have noticed, I spare your life... I sincerely wish that solitude and need will correct your unfortunate character. Time and reflection will teach you to appreciate my forgiveness, and if fate ever brings us together again, as I sincerely wish, we will not meet as enemies. Captain.”

Lisitsyn was a nobleman, therefore, he never did anything with his own hands: serfs served him on the estate, and an officer's valet took care of him in the regiment. Knowing that the ship was sailing on the sea of Okhotsk, he hoped that he was disembarked on one of the patches of land in the Aleutian or Kuril Islands. Alas, he soon found that his situation was worse than ever. He was trapped by fate in the tight grip of two seas. The cold sea of Okhotsk splashed in front of him, and the deep “green sea of taiga” stirred behind him. The forest was full of bears, wolves, lynxes, venomous snakes…

In a week, the Russian Robinson had built a house with a stove and made some furniture. He made a sling, a bow and arrows (a wise decision to save ammunition). He was right because in winter, a hungry wolf pack attacked his house. Eight predators were killed at point-blank range. Some time before that, he shot a bear, providing himself with a warm fur coat and a supply of bear meat. He fished, collected and dried mushrooms.

On April 12, Sergey Lisitsyn was walking along the beach, assessing the effects of spring storms, and saw a man lying face down, weakened with no senses. It turned out that Vasily, the unfortunate man's name, was from a transport ship heading to Russian America. The ship leaked, everyone ran away from it, and he and his son were forgotten. The ship was found nearby. In addition to the 16-year-old boy, there were two sheepdogs and cats, eight Kholmogorsky cows, a bull, 16 oxen, 26 sheep, food supplies, tools, barley and rye seeds, as well as weapons, a telescope, two spyglasses, a samovar, construction and gardening tools.

Seven months of solitude completely erased the “Master” in a once arrogant nobleman. With such supplies and two more pairs of strong and skilled hands, they not only renovated the house and bathhouse over the summer, but also learned how to make butter, sour cream, cheese and cottage cheese. They plowed the field and gathered a crop of barley and rye. They started fishing in the sea and river. They started collecting and processing mushrooms, berries and forest grasses. In short, they lived as a labor commune.

.... In 1857, the writer Alexander Sibiryakov met the hospitable owner of copper and gold mines in the Amur region, Sergei Lisitsyn. Russian Robinson found deposits of copper ore and gold when he was alone. He was appointed by the government to manage these lands. Vasily, Man Friday, was with him. His son studied at Moscow University.

There is more, Lisitsyn paid for the children of the captain that studied at St. Petersburg University. Those were the two sons of the captain of the ship that once marooned a troublemaking cavalryman on a deserted beach. After becoming a rich man, Sergey Lisitsyn found the old man, saw him off on his last journey, and took care of his children.

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