The story of Oksana
Goal - relatives of Masha Allen
Searcher – Alexander Chizhenok
I started this search from scanning Internet. I looked for any articles about Masha’s case in local Rostov media. There was a lot, but most of its was compilation from American sources, only one written originally – in local issue of national newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda. There was not some unexpected or exclusive information in this article, but I decided to contact with author of this newspaper Irina Lenevskaya. I found phone of redaction, called there and found Lenevskaya (for contacts she gave me her mobile phone xxxxxx). She told me that after publication she got email from older sister of Masha, where she requested to help her make contact with Masha and complained for local MOE authorities, who did not give her any help to find Masha. Lenevskay said that she never continue researching of this story, but promised try to find in computer this letter.
When I arrive in Rostov, first of all I called Lenevskaya. For luck she didn’t delete this letter, and kept it in her mailbox. Lenevskaya was too busy for meeting with me, but she resent me the letter. Here is this letter in Russian:
Established: Thu, 22 Jun 2006 20:18:22 +0400
Subject: Sister Masha Allen
My name is Anna Galenko, and I appeal to you on behalf of Oksana Yashenkova. In Komsomolskaya Pravda No. 18 (610) for 11-18 May 2006 you published an article on Masha Allen.
Oksana Yashenkova is her own oldest sister, now she lives in the city of Novoshakhtinsk Rostov region. We very much hope that you can help us. In fact, the Novoshakhtinsk city refused to give us any reliable information about Masha, although it might be known to you and if it does not cause difficulties perhaps you can help.
Can we turn to Masha’s guardian and can we contact you. Or can anyone help in this matter, since Oksana was denied by Novoshakhtinsk.
More importantly, of course, we just want to get information and it is not clear why it is now so difficult. It’s not that surprising, but not all the facts, which were said of Masha regarding her life in Novoshakhtinsk, were in line with reality.
Thank you for your attention to our request for this is very important to Oksana. If you do not mind, please write to the e-mail or call us 908-191-47-16 at any time convenient for you. Thank you!
Anna Galenko mailto: xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Letter was written by Anna Galenko, by the request of her friend Oksana Yashenkova, older sister of Masha Allen. She wrote, that Oksana lives in Novoshaktinsk, read in newspapers about Masha and was very worried about her, but local authorities refused to inform her about Masha’s situation. Oksana requested journalist to help her.
I tried to call to cell phone given in this newspaper. But phone was wrong – letter was written more then year ago, and seems since that time phone changed. So I applied for assistance for local journalist, as I do usually in new places. The point is, that since 2006 in Russia enacted a new law for protection of personal information. This law prohibits to collect personal information, but any journalist, who works in current news has database of local citizens – it’s necessary for work. Usually CDs with such database (police or phone companies) sells at black software market.
I came to Rostov branch of big national newspaper Arguments and Facts, met there young journalist Victor Borzenko, introduced myself as a colleague from St. Petersburg and asked for help in location of Masha’s relatives. He was very impressed of my family searches and willingly agreed to help me.
In his PC was police database of Rostov population, where we looked for contacts of Anna Galenko and Oksana Yashenkova, but failed. Next step – with help of Borzenko I found phone of Novoshakhtinsk branch of MOE, and called there. But inspector, who replied and was in charge of Masha’s adoption, talk very rude and refuse to give any help – it was her last day before vacation, temperature was +40 C, and she was not in good mood to work.
For luck, I noted, that letter of Anna Galenko was emailed not from hotmail address but from some company site “1001butilka” – “1001 bottles”. It gave me chance to locate her work. I asked Borzenko, did he know such company – he say yes, it a chain of alcohol supermarkets in
Rostov. We found phone of central office, I called there, asked about Anna Galenko, and they requested me to call to supermarket at Nansen street. I called, and Anna was found there very fast. Anna said, that Oksana now lives in Rostov, gave me her cell phone. I called. Oksana was shocked by this news. As she told me later, she even can’t continue to work, and her boss allowed her to go home. We agreed to meet same evening in café near my hotel.
Oksana came to this meeting with her boyfriend Alexey – brother of Anna Galenko. Recently they three moved from Novoshakhtinsk and live in Rostov now. Our meeting was shot on video, and you can see how it was. Here are main facts of Yahsenkova family story and short translation.
Masha and Oksana have two older brothers Valentin (DOB 08/28/1973) and Vladimir (DOB 01/02/1980), both lives in Northern Caucasus, Karachevo-Cherkessiya Republic, cossak village Pregradnaya (native place of their grandmother), both hard drinkers, no contacts with Oksana. Mother Mariya Yashenkova lives with them.
Father Nikolay Yashenkov lives in Nizhny Novgorod region, village Roshmaidan, no contacts with Oksana too. He is father of Masha.
[Professional Russian Translation]
When I heard this story, I visited the juvenile case inspector numerous times, but never got a response. She shut the door in front of me.
Altogether, there are four children.
The eldest brother, Valentin, is 34 years old, he was born on August 28, 1973. He is from a different father. The other three – Masha, Oksana, and Vova [dim. for Vladimir – E.G.] – from the same father. Vladimir is one year older than Oksana, he was born January 2, 1980.
Oksana was born on November 19, 1980.
Masha is the youngest one.
Our father is disabled, I have not seen him for about 13 years, [his name is – E.G.] Nikolai, [he lives in – E.G.] Nizhegorodskaia Oblast, Village of Roshmaidan.
They abandoned us. The parents got divorced, we were left to fend for ourselves. At that time I was 17. Everything started much earlier. A lot of heavy drinking. Our father left, our mother got together with a gypsy, lived in a gypsy family, and we were by ourselves. At that time, Masha was 3 years old.
It was I who took Masha to an orphanage. I lived with my brother and his family, and Masha lived with us. I was spending all my time with her. But my brother’s wife said that they could not support all of us and was implacable. She had two children, my brother was not making a lot of money and drank often. He worked as a driver. We were unwelcome there and in everybody’s way. We took her to the orphanage together with the aunt of my brother’s wife. I was visiting her. For some time I lived at my grandmother’s place, later, after I moved, I started a job in Novoshakhtinks. I was selling stuff at a farmers’ market. A market is a market. The boss was not Russian. He started making advances and I left. A (girl)friend of mine and I were collecting coal. I did not have enough money to put together all the paperwork necessary to get a job. That’s how we lived. Then I put the documents together and started working at Gloria. I could not obtain a residence permit [propiska – E.G] in the apartment, where we lived. Then decided that there was no point in getting a permit for that place and moved to the dormitory affiliated with the organization. The apartment has been confiscated. It is a strange case – three children but the apartment got confiscated and we have been left in the street. The juvenile inspector said, “I will not put you and your brother in an orphanage, you are almost adults, you will get by on your own”. So we did get by as well as we could. When I found a job I was visiting her. Once I stopped by and was told that she had left for a seaside vacation. I never saw her again. I was not even told that she had been adopted. I only learned about it because an acquaintance of mine worked there as a chef; it is from her that I learned that Masha had been adopted. They said that it was better for her that way. Back then I also thought so. Sometime later I stopped by the orphanage. They told me that the adaptation had gone very well, showed me photos, and said that it better not to interfere with the child’s life. I had to cry to make them show me all these things.
When all this started, I read about it in newspapers, I went to get information several times, it was awful. She shut the door in front of us, because she had previously promised to tell us something, to provide some information. She said she could not remember our family, although my mother was doing major repairs and repainting in her home. I understood that she did not want to talk to me. Afterwards we were in contact with Irina Lenevkaia over the Internet. She responded. I worked at Gloria Jeans and tried to communicate via their portal, but it did not work.
My brothers have become complete drunkards. I have not seen them for a long time. I don’t know where they live now, but they live without documents and without work. They spent on drinking everything they could. The elder brother got divorced, he moved to where grandmother used to live – to Karachaevo-Cherkessia, Village of Pregradnaya. The last time I saw him at grandmother’s funeral, the middle brother was there as well. But I am not sure that they are currently there. They were in terrible state and I am not sure whether anything good may come of them.
There is nobody else except me who would be considered normal.
Aleksei is my partner is a civil union. We have no children.
Our mother drinks a lot too. She lives in the same place as my brothers, we are not in touch and don’t want to get in touch.
That mother stabbed her in the neck – that is not true. She did not try to kill her. Even though our parents drank, they never physically abused us. She had a surgery. She had a hanging birthmark, and when it was removed at the age of 2 months, the scar remained.
Masha was a very weak child, she was born at 6 months.
Mother was saying that she had an inborn cardiac anomaly. But I don’t completely trust the information that came from my mother, because she likes to exaggerate. Also, Masha was squinting. When I received her photos, on the photos she was wearing glasses and an eyepatch. It looks like she has had a corrective surgery.
We were told that she had been adopted by a family, husband and wife, who also have a grownup daughter. But then it turned out that he was a single man.
[?] works as a needlewoman, has a small private workshop. [?] had worked for 9 years at a sewing factory, switched jobs just 3 months ago.
Mother was born in Karachaevo-Cherkessia, father came from Nizhegorodskaia Oblast. They both went back to the places of their home places.
Mashenka [dim. for Masha – E.G.], it is terrible that everything turned out this way. I very much want to see you and hope to see you. I love you very much. I hope that everything is fine with you now, and that the worst is over.
Whey you called me, I was in such a shock. They even let me leave work early, I could not work.