An American teenage girl was forcibly kept in a remote village in 800 kilometers from Krasnoyarsk in the wild taiga, after the Old Believers relatives sent her to “visit” Russia. She lived in Siberia for 15 for years, almost died of asthma, but eventually ran away and told reporters about her adventures.
The story of a woman named Elizabeth has published a publication "Mediazone." It all started in 2000 year. Elizabeth comes from a migrant family, tells Medialeaks. Her grandparents left the USSR "in Stalin of the year" and got into Oregon in transit through China and South America. Some relatives, including the girl’s parents, have retained their faith: they are Old Believers. The communities of Russian Old Believers persist throughout the world, including in Uruguay and Bolivia, in Brazil and Argentina, and quite a significant number of them remained in the United States.
In Siberia, hundreds of kilometers from civilization, there are still settlements of Old Believers, who fled there first from Russia and then from Soviet power. People in these villages live in subsistence farming, some of them go to the monasteries, where men and women live separately, observing the monastic rule. At some point, Elizabeth was sent to “visit” one of the monasteries in the heart of Siberia, on the tributaries of the Yenisei.
They conspired to go to visit me for two weeks, just to see Russia. They did not tell me that the tickets were one way. They deceived me and sent me there. We got to the monastery, and so I lived there for 15 years.
When the girl came to the skete, they did not let her back. The group with which she arrived in Russia went home without warning, and the American could not get herself out of the wilderness: there is no shelter for tens of kilometers around, expeditions to Krasnoyarsk happen twice a year, when there is flood on local rivers and you can go by boat with motor. Four years later, the owners burned Elizabeth's passport and reported that she would die here, be saved and get into the Kingdom of Heaven from here.
They didn’t beat me there, they just made me live so strictly as they live. All the time we had posts, every Monday — Wednesday — Friday, then posts before Easter, before Christmas. We did not eat meat at all. Eating twice a day, just lunch and dinner - and that's all, we were no longer allowed to eat. Cooked in the kitchen, you go there and eat what you cooked. All of the common cups ate. Lent was even stricter: for the first week there was nothing cooked, just like that, little, carrots and beets, and once a day.
Of the mechanisms Old Believers use only outboard motor. There are no tractors, even the only horse in the hermitage appeared already many years after Elizabeth settled there. Prior to this, the land was cultivated only by hoes. Naturally, there is no light, no medical care, no means of communication. According to the girl, in the taiga there are a lot of such lost settlements, villages and monasteries, some were several kilometers away, and some tens to others. They all live a similar life.
Our land there was very bad, like clay, then we went to the river, found soft earth, dug it in bags, brought it home. Then they burned the earth, all mixed up. Our houses were made of logs, corners were cut with an ax. We lived there from four to ten people in the same house.
In the end, Elizabeth began to suffer greatly from asthma and exhaustion, with difficulty going out into the street. It is forbidden to be treated. If you are destined to die, then so must the Lord. Realizing that the situation is hopeless, the American began to fight for her life.
I got angry, started to think how I can escape from there. I began secretly to be treated, at night I went to the river with one girl, we made such wooden baths, then the water was heated in a barrel, the fir was put in there, as I read about it.
Elizabeth began to secretly take food in the kitchen. In the end, after 15 years she managed to escape: she reached another skete, there one woman helped her to move to a bigger village, and from there she already got to Krasnoyarsk with passing boats. Elizabeth had American phone numbers, she was able to reach her acquaintances, she was transferred money, and she went to the hospital.
Having taken medical treatment, the girl gathered back to the monastery, since it was impossible for her to live long without documents in Krasnoyarsk, and even more to get out of there. But new friends helped her to get Facebook, and she, addicted, decided to leave for Moscow on a passing car, and then try to make a new passport and fly to the USA. It was finally persuaded by her “kindred” brothers living in America who were not Old Believers.
In the embassy I was given a passport somewhere for three hours, I brought a certificate from the police that I lost it, and immediately did it, I paid 150 dollars or something.
As a result, Elizabeth flew to Seattle and now lives her normal life in the USA. How did her relationship with her parents, from an interview is not clear.
After a year and a half after escaping from Siberia, Elizabeth speaks Russian, using elements of the local dialect, with an American accent. To reinforce the impression, Mediason laid out several interview fragments in the form of audio files.
An article on the Mediazone website caused a lot of feedback on social networks. Not everyone believes in the truthfulness of the story from beginning to end, but highly appreciate the plot and texture.
https://t.co/8xabxP2cPZ - from this story I learned that the Americans are a very kind people. If I called my relatives, they would send me to hell
- Zhenny Slavecky (@nibaal) March 8, 2017
Wow. Well, the story. That's for sure the movie to shoot https://t.co/16EePqOGXN
- Alexey Navalny (@navalny) March 8, 2017