September 2, 1999 in Sochi, a tragedy occurred that struck the whole country: 19-year-old Eleonora Kondratyuk was attacked by two unidentified men and poured acid on her face to the Miss Sochi beauty contestant, the title of Miss Charm.
Doctors did not give her optimistic predictions, but the girl survived and, although she lost her sight, she did not lose the love of life: she wrote the book “I chose life” and after 19 years told about what actually happened and what she had to endure.
In 1998 Eleonora Kondratyuk participated in the contest “Miss Sochi”. Despite the fact that she did not receive the crown of the winner, she won the third place and took the audience prize and the title “Miss Charm”.
And in 1999 with her there was a tragedy, which divided her life into “before” and “after”. On that ill-fated day, on September 2, Eleanor went to the beach with her friend Svetlana.
– My path ran through the territory of the school, where we studied for so many years. And when I was already passing by her, I met two small, very nice girls. Apparently, first-graders, dressed elegantly, with white bows. I noticed that, while talking, they were looking, for some reason, not in front of me or even at me, but directly behind me. The last thing I saw was a clean, bright blue, incredibly beautiful sky. And that’s all! I turned back, but, except for a solid, for some reason brown, did not see anything, – Eleanor recalls.
A 20-year-old young man ran up to her, grabbed her sharply by the hair and splashed in her face from the can of sulfuric acid, mixed with vegetable oil, so it was more difficult to wash it off. Acid burned eyes, respiratory tract, skin on the face, neck and shoulders.
– It was not like a painful torture, never before experienced by me, unbearable, corroding, burning pain! With each second, she grew stronger and stronger, more and more deeply sinking into the body. Being in a state of shock, I somehow ran, not seeing where, and from all over I crashed into some concrete rough wall. This blow has slightly brought me back to life. Feeling the edge of this wall, I tried to blink, and although I saw already muddy, but saw the road. Automatically ran to school, – continues Eleonora.
At school the girl was met by the teacher, and then the nurse came running and stabbed Eleanor with an anesthetic.
– Having heard my voice, the teacher Olga Ivanovna with horror exclaimed: “Elia, this is you?” I was dumbfounded: “Yes, but what about me? I have changed so much that you do not recognize me? “Olga Ivanovna burst into tears. Other teachers at her shook, afraid that I will hear, – says the girl.
Later it became known that the organizer of the crime was her admirer Ruben Grigoryan, whom the girl denied in proximity. He began to threaten her, and then decided to take revenge on him: he hired two Abkhaz criminals for a thousand dollars, he himself directed the preparation by phone from Yaroslavl. Everything was secret – he ordered by phone to call him only Igor, and the phrases relating to the crime, encode. “To pour acid” sounded like “Bring tangerines”.
In his book Eleanor does not mention the name of Grigoryan, only indicates the letter of his surname G.
“When I was about to leave the house, an unknown woman phoned me, apologized for worrying, and said that she would not disturb me again, that’s the last time I wanted to ask if I had changed my mind about G. I can not mention his name again. I told the woman that it’s pointless to ask me the same questions, and asked me not to bother anymore! And only now I realized what the phrase “last time” meant in that conversation. What an abomination – to attack a young defenseless girl who just said “no” to some scumbag! – says Eleanor.
The perpetrators of the crime disappeared in Abkhazia, and Grigoryan himself went to Karelia. He was found in 2000 on a long scar and a prosthesis instead of the eye that he lost during the gangster disassembly, for which he received the nickname Cyclops. He received 11 years of imprisonment, his accomplices – 6 and 7. One of the perpetrators of the attack was killed before the case came to court, the second died in prison. Grigoryan was already released.
To normal life, Eleonora Kondratyuk returned gradually: she had a fourth degree of burn, incompatible with life.
– The damage was so serious that I was urgently transported to the regional burn center in Krasnodar. My physicians could relieve my condition only with the help of pain medication, because it is very difficult to act with a chemical burn. But nothing could be done already. It remained only to wait until the process of erosion was over. During the entire period of work, specialists of the burn center with such cases have not yet encountered.
There were practically no chances for recovery, doctors did not give guarantees that the girl would survive. She was forever blind, she needed an operation to transplant the cornea. Only at the third attempt the girl managed to get a transplant, however she sees only with her right eye and hardly distinguishes her face.
For 19 years, Eleonora Kondratyuk survived 200 operations: she was transplanted skin, hair, restored her nose. But she did not lose the joy of life – she graduated from the Academic School of Design, continues to paint, visits burn clinics and supports people like her.