"The most terrifying and important test for a human being is to be in absolute isolation," he explained. "A human being is a very social creature, and ninety percent of what he does is done only because other people are watching. Alone, with no witnesses, he starts to learn about himself - who is he really? Sometimes, this brings staggering discoveries. Because nobody's watching, you can easily become an animal: it is not necessary to shave, or to wash, or to keep your winter quarters clean - you can live in shit and no one will see. You can shoot tigers, or choose not to shoot. You can run in fear and nobody will know. You have to have something - some force, which allows and helps you to survive without witnesses. Markov had it.
"Once you have passed the solitude test," continued Solkin, "you have absolute confidence in yourself, and there is nothing that can break you afterward. Any changes, including changes in the political system, are not going to affect you as much because you know that you can do it yourself. Karl Marx said that 'Freedom is a recognized necessity.' I learned this in university, but I didn't understand what it meant until I'd spent some time in the taiga. If you understand it, you will survive in the taiga. If you think that freedom is anarchy, you will not survive."
-Fra John Vaillants "The Tiger: A true story of vengeance and survival"