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#10 - JRL 9098 - JRL Home
March 21, 2005
World's oldest woman voted for Putin

Russian woman Maria Strelnikova was born on March 15th, 1890 in the village of Ukrainka of the Samara region

According to the Guinness Book of Records, a Brazilian woman had been reported to be oldest human being on Earth. Maria Olivia da Silva, a native of the state of Sao Paulo, has a birth certificate that says that she was born on February 28th, 1880. However, a recent statement by the Guinness Book of Records company indicates that the Brazilian woman has not enough evidence to prove her phenomenal longevity. There is a good chance that Maria Strelnikova will be found eligible for the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest woman on the planet provided that her next of kin file an application.

Mrs. Strelnikova doesn't look like a happy record-holder. Local medical emergency service has stopped sending an ambulance to her address a long time ago. "The old lady lived long enough, it is about time she..." must be the reasoning behind the paramedics' attitude. Mrs. Strelnikova has been bedridden after breaking her hip joint bone two years ago. "My mom had not even turned 100 years old when the doctors refused to provide medical help to her," says Alexanda, her 80-year-old daughter. "So I have to take care of her myself. You know, buying medicines at the drugstore or giving her a shot," says she.

Maria Strelnikova was born on March 15th, 1890 in the village of Ukrainka of the Samara region, the Volga area. All the ancestors within her recollection were very healthy and hard-working people. Her father, grandfather, and great-grandfather all lived till 100 years. By conventional standards, her family was considered well-to-do, they kept a small livestock consisting of a few cows, goats and a camel. All the family members worked hard. They would rise at dawn and would spend the whole day plowing, sowing or harvesting. "I remember the old saying 'Early to bed and early to rise, makes you healthy, wealthy and wise' since I was a kid," says Mrs. Strelnikova.

At the beginning of the 1930s her family lost everything even though they never belonged to the rich. The Bolshevists broke into her house one night. "They must have thought we were living in clover so they took almost everything we owned including our chickens which they threw into a huge canvas bag," says Mr. Strelnikova. Then somebody reported to the authorities on "the lack of cooperation" allegedly displayed by the Strelnikovs toward the Soviet power. The arrest seemed imminent. The family had to flee the village and take shelter in a village close to Leningrad.

Nazis put Maria Strelnikova and her two children to a concentration camp in the August of 1941. The camp was located near the town of Pskov. They spent there three long years before being sent to Konigsberg, East Prussia. The freight train packed with prisoners got blown up with a land mine. Only seven people survived including her children and herself. Her children had to climb the car's roof and take a jump to safety. She followed suit despite her injuries sustained in the explosion. But their journey was far from over. They spent another year in captivity and were finally set free by the Red Army on January 27th, 1945. They set off on their trip to Leningrad walking barefoot in the snow. They arrived home on March 5th.

Mrs. Strelnikova had lived in a tiny room of the communal apartment until she turned 81 years old. Then she was granted a one-room apartment by the authorities of the town Vyborg, near Leningrad. "That is when her real life began," says Valentina, her 84-year-old daughter. "She had a definite run of luck about a year ago. Some kind people in Norway sent her a TV set. Then Alexander Nevzorov, a Duma deputy, put pressure on the authorities and her apartment was finally hooked up to the telephone line. Mr. Nevzorov also paid 1,000 rubles for her future telephone bills. He sent a money order for 300 rubles to my mom on her birthday last year so that we might bake a curd pie," says she.

"I want to live till Easter, that is my only dream at the moment," says Mrs. Strelnikova.

"I have a good pension - 4,000 rubles - thanks a lot, Mr. Putin, for making my life good at the end of the road, with money like that I can save up for my funeral arrangements while staying on my magic diet that kept me fit for the last 115 years," says she.

"Are you afraid of death?"

"No, I am not. The purpose of dying is not heaven high above where you should go to. It is heaven that you should find inside yourself."