Koku Istambulova, a remarkable Russian woman believed to be the oldest person to have ever lived, has passed away at the remarkable age of 129.
According to official pension records in Russia, Koku would have celebrated her 130th birthday in June.
Her life story garnered significant attention, as she famously declared that she had never experienced a single day of happiness throughout her long existence.
Koku Istambulova’s life was a testament to resilience, having survived the brutal repressions of Stalin’s regime. She leaves behind a legacy survived by five grandchildren and an astounding 16 great-grandchildren. In a poignant testimony that resonated deeply, Koku recounted the harrowing events of 75 years ago when her native Chechen people were forcibly deported en masse by Stalin to the desolate steppes of Kazakhstan.
In her emotionally charged account, Koku vividly depicted the cruelty of Stalin’s actions, recounting the tragic loss of lives in the overcrowded cattle-truck trains.
She revealed the horrifying fate of those who perished, their bodies discarded to be scavenged by starving dogs. Koku Istambulova recalled the bitter cold and gloom of that fateful February morning in 1944 when her entire nation was banished from their mountainous homeland in the Trans-Caucasus.
They were loaded onto trains bound for an unknown destination, the railway carriages packed to the brim with people, each carrying the weight of uncertainty.
Koku Istambulova’s passing occurred peacefully at her village home in Chechnya. Her grandson, Iliyas Abubakarov, reflected on her final moments, stating that she was engaged in conversation and seemingly in good spirits before suddenly feeling unwell and complaining of chest pain. Medical assistance was sought promptly, but despite efforts, her declining blood pressure could not be stabilized, and she passed away quietly and fully conscious, immersed in prayer.
A devout Muslim, Koku Istambulova’s birth preceded the reign of the last Tsar Nicholas II, and her life spanned an entire generation beyond the fall of the Soviet Union, as indicated by her internal Russian passport. Her official date of birth was recorded as June 1, 1889. Koku Istambulova has been laid to rest in her cherished home village of Bratskoe, marking the end of an extraordinary journey through history.