A man dubbed the “Siberian Mowgli” who grew up in a remote forest with no electricity and never went to school is now a successful businessman in Moscow.
Odzhan Naumkin first emerged from his parents’ hut in the Altai wilderness aged 20 in 2013 when he wanted to break away from their hippy lifestyle.
Now he runs a smart coffee shop and has a thriving online gourmet food market specialising in organic treats.
Deliberately kept away from the modern world as a child, Odzhan – now 30 – explained to local media: “When I was born, they didn’t register me so that nobody would take me from the pit house to an orphanage.
“My mum and dad took care of my education themselves.”
“My dad taught me not only physics and mathematics but also painting, and my mum, being a music teacher, taught me to listen to classical music.”
Odzhan listened to classical music on an old battery radio, as there was no electricity – and, therefore, no TV, washing machine, or fridge – in the family home.
The family earned money by selling mushrooms, paintings, and wooden craft objects in the resort town of Belokurikha 13 kilometres (eight miles) away.
They grew their own food in a 30-acre vegetable garden and Odzhan was only allowed into town on his own when he turned 18.
Eager to see more of the world, he began asking his parents complex questions about life and arguing with his dad.
Odzhan said: “Our arguments turned into fights, we both got angry, and I started saying more and more that I wanted to live separately from them.
“At that time, I was only thinking about building a little house next to the pit house. That’s when my parents decided to teach me a lesson.”
One evening, after Odzhan returned home from Belokurikha, he found a note from his parents telling him they had gone to hitchhike halfway across the country.
They asked Odzhan to take care of the property and told him not to look for them, as he was now an adult and could live on his own.
But instead of carrying on living as a recluse, he decided to venture into civilisation and seek help.
He eventually contacted police, who were astonished when they found no record of anyone in Russia named Odzhan Naumkin.
He quickly became the subject of TV reports and articles across Russia and quickly obtained a passport and trained as a barista.
After a series of false starts, he set up in Moscow eight years ago and finally, on 11th August, opened a small coffee shop in a shopping centre.
He told local media: “I have an investor again, a friend of mine who also works as a barista, invested 60 per cent in the coffee shop’s opening.
“I think it will do well and pay off. People have been approaching us in these three days, which is promising.”
At the same time, the Siberian Mowgli sells honey, teas, pinecone jam, and other organic products from his home region via an online store.
Earlier this summer, he visited his parents, who have moved back to the family home in southern Siberia.
The dwelling is now powered by solar panels and a generator gifted by Odzhan.
The Siberian Mowgli said: “It’s the same for them: the garden, the spring, the stove, birdsong, plus now we have electricity, everything is good.”