Daria’s story

After Russia
3 min readMar 29, 2023

My 6 years old son is growing up without me

This is not a photo of Daria. For safety reasons we needed to use a photo from a photobank

4 years ago

4 years ago, I was still on maternity leave. Some time after my son was born, I remembered that I had other plans to fulfil– I wanted to finish my degree in science so I started to look for the options. I was in constant communication with some universities, and had even managed to get an interview at the famous Akademgorodok in Novosibirsk, but all was in vain — I was constantly told that my dancing days were done. Having a child, I had better have another one, I had better procreate than work, considering my age, which was 28 at that moment.

Moving to the Czech Republic

Then I decided to go far and beyond — I considered going abroad so I started looking for a scholarship as there were no savings for such a venture. While the son was growing up, I spent my spare time on studying English (I even got a very high result on TOEFL), and on expanding my horizons in my scientific field by studying and reading professional literature.

Two years have passed and, finally, I have got the chance! I was offered a very promising position in one of the best universities in Czechia along with a scholarship offer. Funny enough, that’s when the pandemic started. At that moment, The Czech Republic would issue a family visa only for those who had a family member with a residency, yet I had only a long-stay visa. Having left my 5 years old son together with my husband, I went to Czechia, hoping that the measures would be eased off soon.

I wanted my son to know the world better

I wanted to use that chance to fulfil my dream, to take the family away with me, to show a different world to my son. Moreover, to make it easier for him in the future I wanted my son to be bilingual from the very beginning so I’ve been speaking to him in English since he was 1 years old. We now speak fluently in English together. I’ve always wanted him not only to live in a free democratic country, but also to know the world better, to meet different cultures, languages, and people from other places.

A few months before the war

The time had passed, yet the pandemic was still around. In 7 months, I finally got my residency. I vividly recall this day — I was running like never in my life from the Ministry of Internal Affairs office to the closest pub with WiFi to send the already filled in applications for my family’s visas along with a photo of my permit. In a month, my husband went to Ekaterinburg to apply for the visas — we needed the long-term one which would normally take 90 days to get done (120 in some cases). 120 days have passed as well — there was no answer. And then, the war started. Two Czech consulates had shut down, the visas were suspended.

Czech Foreign Minister Stresses Need To Protect EU Borders With Russian Visa Ban

Choice

Now I’ve got two options — it’s either stay here, God knows for how long, to hear my son crying over the phone when he wants to hug me, eat myself out in fear that one Russia may decide to close its borders (it happened once in the USSR — why cannot it happen again?) for good and I’ll never see them again. Or. to come back, to leave the University where I found my allies and friends, to leave the country where I finally started to grow professionally, to kill my dream to make the world a slightly better place through my job — through science.

I wish to have at least my son here. I wish the Czech government could make it happen. He’s only 6, he’s not a threat to the country. He just wants to be with his mother.

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