Kidnapped and taken to Chechnya, author Elena Nikitina survived the First Russian-Chechen War
In the fall of 1994, 21-year-old Elena Nikitina disappeared. Drugged and kidnapped by a group of Chechen gangsters, she was driven through the night to Chechnya. Kept prisoner in a tiny room, she waited while her captors tried to ransom her to her mother.
“I had no idea what was happening,” she says. “I was out at a restaurant and quarreled with my boyfriend. I went outside to walk the short distance home, and woke up hours later in a rickety old car, surrounded by strange men.”
Events went from bad to worse. A few weeks after the abduction, war broke out between Russia and Chechnya. Life became very cheap, very quickly. Tiny Chechnya became an apocalyptic killing zone. All contact was cut off. There was no electricity. There was no telephone service. There could be no negotiations for Elena’s release.
“Everything changed when the war started,” Elena says. “For the first period of my captivity, I had a small tape player and a Gypsy Kings cassette. I listened to that cassette over and over – it was my only friend. But then the power went out. We were always in darkness, always under threat. I saw and experienced some terrible things.”
Elena was powerless, and at the mercy of hardened criminals who now fancied themselves patriotic freedom fighters. And she was their enemy – the face of the Russian invader. Soon, Arab mujahideen flooded the country to fight the Russians.
“One Chechen fighter took pity on me and tried to protect me,” Elena says. “But he was killed in battle. I believe I was sold into slavery after that. They were waiting for the fighting to slow down to send me to my new master.”
Through eight horrifying months of captivity – witnessing atrocities, surviving bombings and sexual violence, and trapped in a land where countless people were dying every day, Elena fought desperately to stay alive, stay sane, and not lose the one thing that kept her going – her hope.
“This book will astonish and inspire you,” says author Brian Whitney. “It is the harrowing tale of a young woman who saved her own life through nothing more than courage, determination, and inner strength.”
Co-written with American author Patrick Quinlan, GIRL, TAKEN is available as an ebook for Kindle, Nook, iTunes, and many other ebook platforms. It will soon be available in paperback wherever books are sold. A Russian language version is available on Smashwords.