Former Lawyer Lives as “Hobbit” in Underground Hut

NTD Newsroom
By NTD Newsroom
January 31, 2017News

Yuri Alekseyev wakes up in the morning and walks to a nearby forest to collect wood to warm up his home. His faithful white rabbit Petrushka follows him.

The round entrance to his underground hut has earned him the nickname “Hobbit” in the local media after Tolkien’s famous novel.

However, Alekseyev explains that the door is round purely because it was easier for him to cut it when he was building the hut.

Rather than being referred to as the ‘Hobbit’ he would much prefer to be likened to ‘Alice in Wonderland’. But if you are thinking of the Mad Hatter, think again.

Five and a half years ago Alekseyev was a lawyer in Moscow when he decided to leave it all behind and build “I am homeless,” Alekseyev says. He explains that most of the people who live in cities are effectively homeless too, since they don’t own their homes, all they can afford is to rent a flat, or room, or a couch.

“I started to live like a vagabond and then I thought, well, I am homeless. I mean, it is hard for people to say that they are homeless, although there are loads of homeless like me. And there are 100,000 homeless like me in Moscow. And this is why someone who works 8 hours a day to have a roof over their head is homeless in one sense, she/he is renting somewhere and I am the same, so I thought, first of all I should acknowledge ‘you are homeless, you simply don’t have a home’.”

But far from being a hermit tucked away in the woods, Alekseyev has turned his home into a centre for education.

He joined the BookCrossing movement and has registered some 4500 books so far.

BookCrossing is the World’s Library run by librarians and enthusiasts exchanging books all around the world.

Anyone can take a book from Alekseyev’s library and take it anywhere in the world.

He points out that one of his books has ended up at a university in Brazil.

Deeming himself quite an expert on ‘The Cherry Orchard’, Alekseyev also gives lectures on Chekhov’s masterpiece in his hut.

As well as his BookCrossing page and Big Booking site, Alekseyev runs his own Youtube channel and is an active supporter of the Russian opposition leader, Alexei Navalny.

Alekseyev believes that Navalny has every chance to become the next president in Russia and thinks that he is capable of making positive changes.

He talks about the changes he deems necessary to the Russian political system a lot.

Perhaps one of the reasons he has moved to a hut in a middle of nowhere is the fact that his chances of getting his own place with such outspoken views in the current system are not high.


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