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Last Resident Of Russia's Far Eastern 'Island Of Misunderstanding' Dies

The island is now uninhabited.
The island is now uninhabited.

MAGADAN, Russia -- Russia's Nedorazumeniya Island, a major transit center for prisoners sent to gulag camps during Soviet dictator Josef Stalin's Great Purge campaign in the 1930s, is once again uninhabited after its last resident died.

Sergei Yartsev, a fisherman from the port city of Magadan located near the island, told RFE/RL on December 9 that his colleagues have managed to bring the body of Galina Khishchenko, who died two days earlier, from the island to the port after city authorities refused to transport her body, saying that it can be done only in February when the waters dividing the island and the shore are frozen.

Nedorazumeniya Island
Nedorazumeniya Island

According to Yartsev, Khishchenko's 69-year-old husband, Sergei Khishchenko, died in late November of complications caused by a stroke he had in September. His body was also transported by local fishermen to a morgue in Magadan after authorities refused to perform the task.

Thousands of residents started leaving the island in the 1990s following the collapse of the Soviet Union, leaving Sergei and Galina Khishchenko as the last two residents to call the island home.

The island, only 4.5 square kilometers in area, is located in the Sea of Okhotsk off the western Pacific Ocean and about 20 kilometers from Magadan. Its name, translated literally from Russian, is the Island of Misunderstanding.