One year after regaining her freedom, a young Christian girl kidnapped at age 13 by Chechen fighters in Grozny is still adjusting to a more normal life in southern Russia.
"After five years," a source told Compass, "she is going to school again and doing passably well." With the Chechen capital of Grozny a virtual war zone most of her life, she had not attended school since age nine.
Now 14, Anja Hrykin was captured during the confiscation of the Grozny Baptist Church on October 2 last year by Muslim militants, who abused her repeatedly and nearly starved her to death over the next three months. A few days after Christmas, she was brought to the home of Christians in neighboring North Ossetia by Russian soldiers, who said they found the girl alone in an abandoned Chechen village.
After medical care, the girl was able to travel in January to a safe house in Krasnodar, near the Black Sea coast of southern Russia, where a small group of Christian refugees from Chechnya have been resettled semi-permanently. She has since had opportunity to receive some trauma counseling.
Most of the Krasnodar residents are middle-aged or elderly women, and their numbers have fluctuated, as a few ventured back to Grozny to see if indeed the war was over, as Russian authorities insisted. Some have since returned, reporting their homes in ruins, almost no food or drinkable water to be found and a volatile insecurity on the streets, particularly at night. Another seven elderly Christians are reportedly trying to transfer out of Chechnya to Krasnodar in January.
Last May, Anja's mother, Nadezhda, also managed to come across the Chechnya border to Vladikavkaz, where she was found and brought to the Krasnodar center. The whereabouts of Anja's father, an ...1