Sergey’s story

After Russia
3 min readMar 29, 2023

It blindly moves like a roller, like a tank, crushing human lives

I was born in the Soviet Union in 1965, in Rostov-on-Don. My father was a military musician and my mother was a doctor and teacher. They were not dissidents, but rather “silent dissenters”. They didn’t do anything for my political education. I grew up as a bookish boy, admiring the romanticism and heroes of the Revolution and the Great Patriotic War. I was a Komsomol activist. After finishing school I entered a political-military school of missile troops. There for the first time I began to notice the difference between the “communist ideals” and real life.

Perestroika and Glasnost (The End of the Soviet Union)

I left the school after the third year, and decided to devote myself to computers and programming. I entered the Riga Aviation Institute, Department of Computers. In the meantime, “glasnost and perestroika” were spreading in the country. The “communist ideals” had collapsed. Graduation from the institute coincided with my finding faith in God. I returned to my native Rostov-on-Don as a baptised Christian. The nineties were the time of my greatest church activity: preacher in church, assistant pastor, presbyter. I got married. I found my wife in our own church.

The late nineties and early noughties became a time of my disenchantment with the church-Christian system. I began to pay more attention to what was going on outside the closed “Christian world”, in society, in the country. I got interested in different forms of political activity, looked at different parties, and even attended the elections as an observer. An anxious feeling that something wrong was brewing in the country was growing. As a specialist, even an undergraduate, in propaganda and ideology, I began to notice the active anti-Ukrainian treatment of the Russian population.

Annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the subsequent war in Donbass were a shock to me. A large part of my friends and acquaintances seemed to go crazy. For a while, I was a volunteer on the illegal team Cargo 200 from Ukraine to Russia. We were spreading the information about that war, trying to break the information blockade in social networks. We were helping relatives and friends of missing and dead Russian soldiers in Ukraine. It was then when I first became aware of the dumb power of the Russian state machine. It blindly moves like a roller, like a tank, crushing human lives and destinies.

Crimea was one of the “red flags,” danger signals that, I believe, God began to give me, starting in the late noughties. For several years now, everything has been moving in the wrong direction. And there was nothing I could do about it. I felt completely unnecessary in my country. I was worried about the future of our sons. What could be waiting for them here? My wife shared this concern. And at some point we started planning to move out of Russia. After our tourist visits to the Czech Republic in 2013 and 2014, we realised where we wanted to move to. We realised our plan by moving to Kladno in 2018.