A country worthy of admiration. As any other
I became an English teacher 13 years ago completely by accident. It started off as a part-time job to earn some extra cash during my PhD studies, but in the end I did find myself enjoying this field enough to abandon all of the academic work and concentrate on bettering myself as a language tutor. I cannot say that I am incredibly passionate about teaching and this is the best job in the world, but I find it varied and engaging enough not to dread waking up on a Monday morning and the vast majority of people I get to work with are quite pleasant. I am in my mid-30s. Grew up in Moscow. Most of my free time is devoted to underground music (namely metal) and reading quite a diverse spectrum of literature.
I grew up as an only child in a loving family of a chemist turned language teacher and an engineer turned businessman. My parents struggled a bit throughout the early 90s as did most of the people, but we were relatively well-off and they could afford to educate me, occasionally take me on trips around Europe (later on) and feed me three times a day. As mentioned earlier, I managed to land a stable job that I found enjoyable enough and that let me spend my leisure time more or less the way I liked.
I can't say that I miss anything about my past except for my mother, who died a few years back. I was never patriotic. There are things that I do find worthy of admiration, but I don't think they are unique to Russia.
Who knows what lies ahead
All of my friends share my opinion, except one - my oldest friend. His reaction didn't come entirely as a surprise to me because of a lot of arguments we'd had over the years, but when I did get the confirmation of my suspicions, I basically had to tell myself that unfortunately that person I used to know is gone. My father is 100% on the same page as me. As for the extended family, who are still in Russia, I've never had too much contact with them, so it's difficult for me to judge. According to what my father tells me they have assumed a defensive position of hear nothing see nothing say nothing.
Except for some minor issues with getting my father's pension out of Russia, the overall emotional turmoil (read - anger), and the economic impact that every Czech has to deal with, there has been no effect on me so far. But who knows what lies ahead.
My wish to move from Russia has become a necessity
I have wanted to move out of Russia since my teens. Mostly to experience life elsewhere. Wanderlust, I guess. I had my eye on Finland for a long time, since I absolutely fell in love with that country during my visits. After certain events in 2007, which opened my eyes more than before to the true nature of the Russian government, I started looking into the whole idea of relocation more thoroughly. I was gradually learning the language and trying to figure out how to relocate to Finland, but I can't say that I was working my fingers to the bone in order to achieve that goal (finding a job as an English teacher in Finland is not easy by any means). Then Crimea happened and the flag-waving crowds made me realise that it's too late to be picky and I want to get out of there no matter where. A teacher training course in Prague popped up while I was looking at all the different options and I took that opportunity. After two months in Prague I realised that the Czech Republic was a wonderful place and after some bureaucratic hurdles I managed to come back and start working. Unfortunately due to some problems at work and my mother's poor health I came back to Russia three months later. However, nine months later I managed to return to Prague for good and have been here since. I'm not sure whether any of this would have been possible without my parents' financial help. My extended family is still there, but I managed to bring my father here 2 years ago.
I've had three long-term residencies and am now eligible for permanent residency, which I am planning to apply for in a couple of months. I have no idea if I might be deported. That is the main problem at the moment, because it's quite difficult to find official information regarding people with Russian passports at the moment. I certainly hope not, since I've had the same job for 6 years, I have literally nothing left in Russia. Here I have an apartment, 1 more year to pay off my car, all of my possessions. So I am fully settled and going back there is not an option.
I don't know whether this is going to be relevant, since I've heard that the situation might change again quite soon. But at the moment, due to the PVZP monopoly, commercial insurance for 1 year for my elderly father costs 126 000 Czk, compared to 26000 Czk a year ago. If you ask me, that is absolutely insane. We are going to have to purchase insurance in a matter of a couple of months and I really hope that the rumors are true and this monopoly will have been repealed by then.
There are many visa assistants, and one of them is absolutely amazing. Helped me a lot over the years and made everything so much easier. I am not sure whether they'd be happy to be advertised in this particular context, so no names. Overall, I am incredibly lucky to be here and to have my Czech mates and friends from all around the globe, who also chose Prague at some point.
I do find other people's stories quite educational in general. Not sure that my case is particularly enlightening, but somebody might stumble upon it and draw some sort of useful conclusion. I don't know.
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.