Winter 1950 in Moscow. Daylight lasted only a few hours, and the lives of most Russians passed between what little food they got, fear of Stalin, and healing the wounds of the end of World War II. On one of those frosty January mornings, conjoined twins were born Masha and Dasha Krivoshlyopova. The delivery was by caesarean section at the Central Hospital of the Soviet capital. That was a complete surprise because at the time there was no imaging monitoring to follow the pregnancy.
Little did her mother know that she was giving birth to twin girls. The woman’s labor lasted 48 hours. The doctors first told the woman that two mutants had been born and were going to take her away. But the night nurse at the hospital took the woman to where the girls were. The next day the woman refused to give up motherhood. Then the doctors took the twins to the nursery, claiming that they had died of pneumonia.
The guinea pig of communism
Soviet doctorsThe conjoined twins were taken to the Moscow Medical Institute. There they subjected her to gruesome trials, and it was revealed years later that the sisters were still physically united when they were already two-year-old girls.
Soviet doctors called them Dasha and Masha. Siamese twins shared a blood system but had separate nervous systems. This made them an ideal subject for Soviet physiologist Pyotr Onagin’s research.
The sisters were placed on a bed in a glass box next to a laboratory. There they spent the first years of their lives in the captivity of that terror. They were like zoo dwellers. Many times the doctors brought their friends or other scientists to see them.
In this glass prison, the girls suffered Torture for the purpose of medical research of Soviet doctors. They burned them, froze them, kept them awake, starved them, injected them with radioactive and other harmful substances, and electrocuted them to test their conditioned reflexes.
For example, scientists will inject one of the conjoined twins and evaluate her sister’s reactions. Or throw ice water on one to check the other’s body temperature. The torture lasted until the girls were 12 years old.
There was Dasha and Masha Attached by the column at an angle of 180 degrees They each controlled one of the two legs they shared.
Between the two they had four arms, a separate small intestine, but they shared the same colon and rectum. They had four kidneys, but only one bladder and one Shared reproductive system.
Each had its own heart and lungs, but they shared a blood supply. Dasha and Masha had separate nervous systems, which meant that one could be sick while her sister was healthy. For example, in childhood, one of the twins contracted measles and the other did not.
The girls grew up far from their mother, and when they were 6 years old, in 1956, they were transferred to the Central Scientific Research Institute of Traumatology and Orthopedics in Moscow. There they were taught to walk, write and read. Dasha and Masha studied separately with teachers without contact with other children. They helped with their hands to add and subtract at the same time. 17 And when asked about revolution they answered in chorus History of the formation of the Soviet Union.
United but different
As they grew up, they had very different personalities. Doctors who studied her noted these differences: “One was brought up by a peasant family and the other by professors. University of Leningrad”.
Journalist Juliet Butler He met them in 1988 and befriended them. At the time the women were already 38 years old and had lived most of their lives amidst the neglect and torture of the Soviet medical system.
“Masha was domineering, charming, manipulative and selfish. Tasha was humble, quiet, kind and thoughtful. They loved each other fiercely,” says Butler after interviewing the sisters several times.
Butler was shocked to meet the conjoined twins. “Masha was selfish, self-centered, fearful, greedy, but also very charming, like a psychopath. In a way, she enjoyed the reputation of being too special. Dasha was modest, kind, gentle, generous and quiet. Masha coped well with disability, because she was indifferent. , was also unable to feel love or empathy, so he did not care what people thought of her, while Tasha cared a lot. I hated going out. Masha simply shouted at those who were watching them, “said the journalist in an interview after the publication of his book.
Juliet wrote a novel based on the lives of conjoined twins and said in her speech Tasha dreams of breaking away from her sister and leading a normal life. Meanwhile, Masha was not interested in changing her life, she smoked and read magazines about rare Russian showbiz.
“I remember visiting them one day in the late 90s, a letter from a British surgeon who specialized in separating conjoined twins, who offered to operate on them. Tasha looked at Masha with hope, but Masha, looking straight ahead, immediately said ‘Neat’. As Dasha says, it is,” Butler revealed in an interview with the English newspaper The Daily Telegraph.
Only Tasha drank pure vodka Like most of his Russian compatriots. The white drink made Masha nauseous. However, since they shared the same blood system, both were drunk.
In 1988 they appealed to be allowed out of prison on the national television program Vzglyad. They appeared together in front of the cameras and were watched by millions of Soviet people and satellite countries still surviving communism. The women laughed without telling their story in depth. State censorship pressured it to stop.
The appeal was successful and they moved into a labor veterans’ home with much better living conditions and bought luxuries for the Soviet Union such as a television, Atari and stereo. Adults, they appeared in society on that television set and couldn’t Avoid bullying. Faced with ridicule, perhaps, the sisters yearned for the solitude and seclusion of the glass box in which they grew up. “People call us two heads. You hear all kinds of nonsense, it makes us cry,” said Sasha in an interview with the journalist.
Women shared their reproductive system. It was also a clash for the Siamese twins. Dasha fell in love with Slava, one of the boys who lived in a Moscow school. The boys spent the whole day together. Trouble started when the young man retired. Masha did not want to be around him and arguments often ended in blows between the sisters.
Tasha never hid her desire to have sex with Slava, but Masha did not allow it. one night, Slava and Dasha They drank so that Masha would suffer the consequences, and the couple could not avoid intimacy. The couple claimed to have fallen in love in Butler’s book, but there is no other evidence of a meeting. Meanwhile, her sister Siami fell asleep due to the amount of vodka she had consumed.
After the stormy years of adolescence that ended with many nights of beatings and bruises, came maturity and peace. They had reached the harmony of feeling each other’s pain in their bodies. The boundaries between the two have become blurred or almost non-existent.
Masha had a heart attack At the age of 53, he lay in agony for 17 hours before dying. I was in a home for the disabled where they lived in a small room with a small bed. No one called an ambulance, or heard a woman’s screams. Toxins from the corpse had ravaged his body. This happened directly to Tasha, who took another 17 hours to die, thinking her sister was sleeping.
“Introvert. Thinker. Problem solver. Evil beer specialist. Prone to fits of apathy. Social media expert. Award-winning food fanatic.”