Surviving the crisis: the call of the wild

While the credit crunch has caused life-changing hardships for many, some, believing the world is on the verge of a major depression, have taken to living off the land, regardless of how hard it is.

Seven years ago, Viktor Sergienko felt life in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev had become too stressful. On top of that he had read several books that claim a big world crisis was imminent. The software engineer decided not to hesitate and prepared for the worse. In 2007 he bought a small house in the countryside. Last September Viktor was among the few who could say, “I told you so.”

“Back in 2002 I realized that a big crisis would come in about 10 years. It is not that I made this up – there are many books on the subject. And now my forecast is coming true even earlier, and I believe this credit crunch is only the beginning,” Viktor said.

Mass manmade disasters, natural resources depleted, marauding and food scavenging…. These are just a few of the possible scenarios which – according to Viktor – will only increase around the planet. That is why, he says, one has to be ready to live a fully autonomous life.

Viktor wakes up early in the morning to work the entire day. It is hard, especially in the blazing sun. However, he’s not working for money, but for his survival. Over the years, the Ukrainian has accumulated everything he needs – cattle, a garden, and a shed full of necessities.

“We have counted up how much we need to survive and we are now able to grow it,” he said. “And also we need food for the cattle, timber for heating in the winter time and water – we have it all. Such things as electricity, oil, telephones and money will not be available during the crisis. And I can now say I have made myself fully independent from those.”

If someone thinks these ideas are absurd, try to imagine what would happen in a megapolis should it be deprived of electricity or sewerage disposal.

Some, however, turn this survivalist theory into a scary scenario, arming themselves against possible cataclysms. Others – like Mikhail Mikhin from Moscow – stick to a more sensible approach. Mikhail doesn’t quite share the apocalyptic view, but still he believes that one should be prepared to turn even the simplest things into means of survival.

“This is a regular military spade. Every soldier has it at his disposal. But in a crisis situation it could be used as a hammer, as a knife and you can even use it as a frying pan to fry fish,” he said.

The number of so-called survivalists in big cities is thought to have more than tripled since the beginning of the global market crisis. In Russia’s St. Petersburg alone they are estimated at 15,000.

Whether or not the world will soon descend into chaos is debatable.