I moved to the Czech Republic in 2013. There may be nothing special in my story, but thanks to that I am finally here.
I graduated from university in 2010 and after that I immediately plunged into adult life, and with it into harsh realities of my country. Three years before my departure, many laws violating human rights and freedom, were adopted in Russia that directly affected my life and the lives of my friends:
The “foreign agents” law, which essentially shuts down the mouth of all anti-Kremlin media, the “undesirable organisations” law, which is supposed to protect national security, but in fact endangered any organisations that protect human rights. But the final straw, when I realized that life in this country is simply unbearable, were two laws: “offense of peoples religious sentiments”, which contradicts the original definition of a secular state and violates the right to freedom of speech and any religion other than Orthodoxy (under the pretext of violating this law hundreds of cultural organizations and artists were closed and arrested), and the law on “propaganda of homosexuality”, which essentially discriminates a significant part of society and unties hands of all homophobes and haters. As a member of the LGBT community, dating a girl at that time, I fully felt the impact of this law.
I realised that in Russia I would never be able to live in peace, feel safe and, most importantly, not worry about my family.
It wasn't a relocation, it was an escape. I am happy that Czech Republic has become my home, for 8 years of living here, this country has given me more than my homeland
When we think about politics and society, we tend to think in democratic terms. Russia however is not a democratic state. We try to explain the Russian terms and principles in simplest terms possible to give a context to the current happenings.
On 24th February 2022 Russian federation shocked the world when it invaded Ukraine. Was it entirely unexpected or where there signs of such event long before? And could it have ended in any different way?
The Russian post-Soviet history is a fascinating story full of both optimism and despair, civic resiliance and passivity and many unexpected turns. Some eras brought hope of more liberal society and cooperation with west, while others crushed that dream entirely.
Read our Timeline of Russian history. We put milestone events familiar from news into a bigger picture for you.