I’m Russian, My Wife Is Ukranian — Here’s How Putin’s Actions Make Me Feel
I’ll be honest. I don’t like writing or talking about politics. Where I am from, nobody does.
My generation — people born in the late 1990s — was brought up in a dictatorship country with no rights and no ability to voice our minds. We were sold the idea that nothing we do or say matters — because it really doesn’t. We were told that at any point, the modern-day version of KGB (called FSB) might be listening to us. We were taught that no matter how hard we vote, it won’t change a thing.
Nobody can do anything. So why bother?
“It’s not us, it’s them, the people in power.”
We — people of Russia, are not in charge. We are imprisoned. We’re not to blame. It’s not our fault.
Most people in modern-day Russia are faced with two options: shut up and get used to it — making the most of the corrupt system, learning to navigate its treacherous waters — OR leave.
I chose the latter.
Last year, my wife and I left Russia last year and we don’t intend on coming back. Because we care about the truth, we want to live a good life, and most of all: we value our ability to say what we think without fear. We are also in our early twenties. We want a life. Not to merely exist in perpetual dread.
But even though we left, we still feel responsible for what our country is doing to the rest of the world. And given that my wife’s family is Ukrainian, we feel torn apart by this needless conflict that the old lunatic in charge has summoned.
My wife and I met in Russia. She — coming to Moscow for university from Odessa, Ukraine, and I — who lived between the U.S. and Russia all my childhood and early adulthood. We both lived and worked in Moscow for several years.
We also both agree that the most terrible part of modern Russia is not that most people know the truth and are afraid to voice it like protagonists in many dystopian novels (e.g. my wife’s favorite — 1984).
The most terrifying part is that nobody actually knows what the truth is.