My mum was branded a cheat because I looked nothing like her – but it turns out I was SWAPPED at birth

A MOTHER was branded a "cheat" because her daughter did not look anything like her – until it emerged her baby was swapped at birth.

Alyona Romanova and Gulsina Kudryakova were 38-years-old when it was finally revealed they had been raised by the wrong parents.

Both have told of their "heartache" at being robbed of truly knowing their real families after medics at a Soviet hospital in 1982 attached the wrong tags to the newborns.

Alyona told The Sun that the woman who raised her faced endless taunts, even from her own husband, that she had slept around.

She has distinctly Asian features like many people in the mountainous Siberian republic of Tuva which borders Mongolia – however her parents are Slavic-looking.

Alyona, who runs her own shop, was raised by Valentina Baulina, 78, who is actually the biological mother of Gulsina, brought up by Vasilya Baimurzina, 67.

From childhood Alyona remembers the relentless village whispers that Valentina fell pregnant with her after cheating on her husband.

She told The Sun: "The neighbours' gossip really hurt me.

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“I knew my mum, who raised me, was decent, but there had been rumours since my birth.

“I caught them as soon as I was old enough to understand things in my childhood.

“Women in the shared bathhouse discussed it and told my mum that I did not take after her.”

Speaking about how the vile rumours affected her and her family, she continued: “Mum at first kept it inside her somehow.

“I felt hurt and I am still hurt for me and my mum.

“I don't know how to describe it. Bitterness, perhaps.”

Meanwhile, Gulsina was one of the only members of her dark-haired clan that had fair hair – and feels bereft for the life that was "stolen" from her.


Her mother Vasilya decided to squash the doubt and contacted a DNA show on Russia's NTV channel.

"When I heard the results of the test, I felt huge relief, I burst into tears," Alyona said.

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In recent years Russia has seen a shocking number of swapped babies that have only come to light decades later, plunging those involved into untold agony. 

The girls first met each other aged 13 after Alyona's father visited a hospital and was told there was a child in a neighbouring village who was his double.

She said: "My father rang my mother, told her this, and my mum took a photo of me to the hospital and showed it to the people who had told my dad about a girl resembling him.”

The brave teenager took it upon herself to try and track down the family in the village of Pokrovka.

But her hopes of a happy reunion were dashed as the door was shut in her face by – as we now know – her own biological mum. 

“When I came to my mother for the first time, her family did not accept me, they kicked me out," she said.

“She started yelling, she did not believe me, and was nervous. Vasilya was saying it was all lies, she did not believe in it.”

Still, she and Gulsina added each other on social media – but barely communicated.


And years later, the women bumped into each other in Kyzyl, a city close to both of their villages, and struck up a friendship.

“We started communicating with each other as families. I was introduced to my biological father, and other relatives, they accepted me," Alyona said.

“It was obvious – I looked like them. At that moment I was no longer afraid.

“It hurts me that I did not live my life with them, that I did not know them as a family. I well up with tears that so much time has passed.”

This friendship eventually led them to the TV show which confirmed what Alyona had always suspected.

Her non-biological parents took it "very hard", while she herself had to be prescribed medication to help her cope.

She said: “I am happy that I could prove the truth. There was so much pain, and I wanted the whole world to know about it. 

“It is hard for me to get over it. Now I find that my biological mum is a stranger for me.

“I look at her, she is my mum but she is not at the same time, I don't know how to explain it to you."

Valentina acknowledged she could never be as close to her blood daughter.

“They both are my daughters,” she said. “Of course, Alyona is closer to me because I raised her.

 “As the saying goes, the mother is not the one who gave birth, but the one who raised.”

The other mum Vasilya admitted the DNA result had been “very unexpected” despite all the speculation and accusations over the years. 


“I did not believe it until the very end”, she said.

A lawyer representing the victims – and seeking compensation for them in the Russian courts –  said the publicity has deepened the pain.

The families have now received an apology from the hospital, but it has a sting in the tail. 

Chief doctor at Kizilsky maternity hospital, Alla Vasilyeva, said: "It is very difficult to swap children at the maternity hospital. Not just difficult, it is impossible.”

She gave an elaborate explanation of how tags on the babies could not be confused – yet it happened – but none of the medical staff involved remain at the hospital, or are even alive still.

The doctor said: “It is a disgrace if this really happened. These are human lives and destinies." 

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