The Daily Grind Video
Russia's oldest person, 128-year-old Koka Istambulova

Source: Yelena Afonina / Getty

Everyone meet Koku Istambulova.

She’s allegedly 128 years old, making her the oldest person not just in the world, but ever on record in recent history. Her age can’t be fully verified only because her documents were lost in the Second Chechen War. The Russian government used her internal passport reports to determine her age, which say her date of birth is June 1, 1889.

So yea, Koku is out here alive and kicking, and possibly breaking records!

But there’s just one thing about Koku…



“I have not had a single happy day in my life,” she told an interviewer. “I have always worked hard, digging in the garden. I am tired.”


Koku hasn’t had the most pristine life either.

She lived through World War I, The Russian Revolution, World War II, and Joseph Stalin‘s deportation of the Chechen nation to Kazakhstan and Siberia. “When in exile – we lived in Siberia too,” Koku said. “But in Kazakhstan we felt how the Kazakhs hated us.”

Koku also has memories of being beaten by her grandmother for not dressing modestly enough as a kid, as well as memories of digging holes and planting watermelons.

“Looking back at my unhappy life, I wish I had died when I was young,” she said. “When I was working, my days were running one by one. And now I am not living, I am just dragging through.”


Koku is READY T’ GO.

When asked how she thinks she lived so long, Koku replied, “It was God’s will. I did nothing to make it happen…. Long life is not at all God’s gift for me—but a punishment.”


And don’t expect any trendy health secrets that kept Koku young. “I see people [who live long] going in for sports, eating something special, keeping themselves fit,” Koku said. “But I have no idea how I lived until now.”

Koku does drink fermented milk and she doesn’t eat meat, so that could have something to do with it.


Koku will leave no children behind when she dies. Her last child died at age 104.

So yea.

There’s some strong genes in the family.