We left Russia a long time ago for the same reasons we see today.

Thankfully we haven’t faced any prejudice yet. Our friends, colleagues, and neighbors know us well and understand who we are. But the question, “Where are you from?” can be tricky. You have to be careful because you never know how people will react. Luckily, I’ve never had any bad experiences, but it still worries me. We left Russia a long time ago for the same reasons we see today. I predicted many of the bad choices that brought the country to its current state. Thankfully, none of my relatives have been affected by the war so far. There are some difficulties due to the sanctions, but it’s nothing compared to what people in Ukraine have to endure. It’s tough to detach yourself from what’s happening. We wanted to move away from Russia and find new opportunities for our children. Working in IT allowed me the freedom to relocate. I always felt different from the general population in Russia. In Russian literature, there’s often a theme of self-sacrifice and prioritizing the nation’s interests over individuals, which Russian propaganda exploits. I was always puzzled by a culture where people cared more about the size of Russia’s rockets than their own quality of life. After participating in a few protests, the idea of moving became more serious. In 2012, there were protests because of two elections with a lot of fraud. They were peaceful, with people wearing white shirts and ribbons as a symbol of non-violence. Back then, joining a protest wasn’t as risky as it is now. But Putin’s response to the protests was just too strange. He compared the white ribbons to condoms, which made no sense. He mocked the protests and all the peaceful efforts. It made me realize his character, and it was clear that his supporters couldn’t see the obvious. I started reading about corruption investigations and realized it wasn’t the right place to raise our children. Thankfully, my wife shared my views and wanted to move even more than I did. We hope to provide a brighter future for our children, and I’m certain we made the right decision at the right time.