Have you considered emigration?(140)
Sergei, 49, unemployed, Kaliningrad
I haven’t thought of leaving Russia. Like anyone, I wanted to travel in my youth, to visit other places. But as for settling in a different place—no, I never wanted to. When I was young, I was stopped by having my parents and relatives here. Now that I’ve got no relatives left, I think I’m stopped by my roots: you come to understand that you’ve grown up here; you spent your youth here. It’s not like some native birch trees have been holding you here, but [rather] it’s your inner principles, even spiritual. It is one thing to go somewhere to see things, but it’s totally different to move somewhere to live.
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Ivan, entrepreneur, DJ, Saint Petersburg
It seems to me that many have thought of emigration. But I don’t see myself in another country; I’ll have nothing to do there. I look at many of my friends who have emigrated, and I understand that I don’t want to live like that.
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Konstantin Iosifovich, 86, retired, Tyumen region
I have never even thought about leaving Russia. One should live where one was born. Nowadays, everyone straggles off, even my grandchildren. Why the heck are they doing this? Where have they gone to? What do they hope to find there? They have no business going abroad. They should be living in Russia instead of wasting their time in the United States or in London. There is nothing good there.
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Olga Pavlovna, pediatrician, Tyumen region
I have neither been abroad nor thought about emigrating. Many generations have to live in a foreign country before they feel that they belong there. In Russia, I have a sense of belonging. When you go to a different country, your way of thinking changes, along with your attitude toward the government, life in general, and everyday life in particular. Your have to change yourself completely. I am not prepared to do that.
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Movsar, neurosurgeon, Grozny
I have never thought about emigration. I have never even had a fleeting thought of emigrating. I was born here, and even if the situation allows me to leave, I will probably stay here. And not only will I stay, but all the people who are close to me will stay as well: my relatives, my colleagues, my friends—my close circle, in other words.
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Anna, art student, Moscow
I haven’t thought about emigration, but a phrase constantly crosses my mind: “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.” You’ll have your own problems wherever you move to.
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My image of a real Russian is of a man who drinks vodka, works at a factory, and talks to a TV-set.

 

Ramazan, 26, chef, Yalta
No, though I have thought about it, but decided to stay no matter what.
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Aleksandr, 43, unemployed, Samara
No, I haven’t thought of emigrating.
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Anatoly Yevgenievich, doctor, Saint Petersburg
As people say, where you were born, there you’re good. That’s why I haven’t thought of emigrating, but I would like to see the world. It’s just that there is never enough time. Even during vacation, there is so much fuss. Besides, my financial opportunities don’t always allow me to have what I’d like.
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Yuliya, 19, attends beauty school, Tolyatti
I do not think about leaving Russia, nor have I ever been abroad.
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Dina, 34, event planner, Volgograd
I thought about emigration when I was in school and my friend moved to the United States. She used to call me and tell me that I too should come to the United States. Today, however, I cannot even imagine living anywhere else but in Volgograd. I could pack and move somewhere else—I have skills, and I am still young enough—but what for? I am all right where I am.
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Dunya, philosophy and theology lecturer, Moscow
In my opinion, living in a different country does not mean emigrating. I would like to live in a different country—in the Republic of South Africa—but I would never want to emigrate there. There is a Soviet stereotype that when you move to a different country, you burn your bridges and start there afresh. I think that the world lives according to different rules: you can live in different countries. You can spend 10 years in Spain and then move to Germany. I know many people who live like this and still consider themselves citizens of their native countries and return there at some point. My family is here, my mother is here. I will not abandon my parents, they are important to me.
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Grigory, 21, construction worker, Samara
I’ve thought of emigrating. There’ve been times when I wanted to leave here. Many times.
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Let migrants work if Russians cannot do it. Nowadays, Russia does not produce anything. People have no jobs. They don't know how to take care of their land. People do not even know how to milk a cow.

 

Nikita, 49, actor, Moscow
Yes, I had such dreams [of emigrating] when I was young. I used to think that I could do something out there, in Europe. But then, I’m a Russian.
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Evgenii, entrepreneur, Tyumen
I have never even thought about leaving Russia. I have been abroad—everything is foreign there, everything is unfamiliar.
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Sultan, security guard, Grozny
My family and I have gone through two heavy wars. But we never thought of leaving. We might have wanted to leave for a time, but I’ve never desired to leave this place forever. There has never been such a thought in my head, even during the wars.
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Alexander, 39, geography teacher and botanist, Khabarovsk
I believe everyone considers emigration. Sometimes circumstances, let us say, make me consider this option, but I dismiss the thought.
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Kostya, 15, Tolyatti
I’d emigrate to Hollywood, Scotland, or Ireland. I’d want to live there in my own house.
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Lily, photographer, Moscow
I’ve thought of emigrating. In the ’90s, my mother prepared all of the documentation and we practically moved to Israel, but stopped, literally holding the tickets in our hands.
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Igor, 49, unemployed, Simferopol
I haven't thought about this. In the 18 years I've spent in prisons in various cities, including in Belarus, I had ample opportunity to stay there. But I have always returned here. Simferopol is my motherland, I can't imagine my life somewhere else. Maybe if my head would have been wired differently I would consider immigrating when I was 25-30 years old. But I haven't thought about it.
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We were supposed to spend a month in Vietnam, but after the first two weeks we longed for those Russian birch trees and for the language. We found Russian TV channels and watched them, although I never watch those at home. I felt so warm at heart, and I realized that it would probably be hard to emigrate.

 

Rukiya, nurse, Grozny
I haven’t thought of emigration.
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Viktor Alexandrovich, cobbler, Kaliningrad
I don’t think of leaving Russia. I’ve been living here for a very long time.
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Aishat, studies in a community college and works at a travel agency, Grozny
I haven’t thought of emigration.
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Igor, coach, Tyumen Region
I have not considered and will not consider emigration. There is no need for that. What would I do without my friends, the people I know, without our government and my Russia?
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Evgeniy, 27, forest ranger, Samara
I consider emigration every time I face bureaucratic issues created by our government bodies.
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Maria, 35, marketing manager, Yalta
Lately I've been thinking about this a lot. I'm worried by what's going on. For example, what's the difference between a beach in Gurzuf and in Barcelona? In Barcelona you'll see people running with their dogs, playing Frisbee, having a picnic with their children. And in Gurzuf – I looked around – on my right there were about thirty people, many with children, teenagers, all of them with a beer in their hand. And on my left – the same. And it even appeared to me that little kids were sucking on beer bottles. And that's really scary to me. I've got a son to raise and I have to consider so many other things than just my love for the mountains, the sea and friends. Is that enough compared to how families live and spend their time in London, Paris or Munich? It's not about me, it's about my son Spartak. So, yes, I think about immigration, because I think he would be better off growing up in a different society.
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Alexander, entrepreneur, Moscow
If we talk about my country in particular, I have always had an urge to go back there. But I choose to live where life is better.
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Real Russians are from Saint Petersburg—with such delicate intelligence, a couldn’t-care-less attitude, light consumption. And the second type of real Russian is someone from beyond the Urals—tough silent-type guys who've got a gun under the floorboards, and they’ll sort it all out if necessary.

Alexander, 31, sailor, Kaliningrad
I have never in my life thought about emigration. In my opinion, emigration is nothing but a utopia, a life preserver for those who are drowning. How can anyone just betray one’s religion, as many people do when they convert to yoga and Buddhism? Such people are just renegades, emigrants to a different religion. I think that we, Orthodox Christians, should live in our own world.
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Ismail, 61, construction worker, Bakhchysarai
No, I never thought about immigration. I know that when it's difficult, when one needs to study or work somewhere else, it's okay to leave. But why would I want to leave, if I'm left to be, if everything's to my liking. In my opinion, it's okay to travel, to look at other countries. Our nation is so small.
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Galina Petrovna, teacher at a village community center, Tyumen region
I’ve never thought of moving away from Russia. I was born in Siberia and I never abandoned my region, because I like the village. I’ve never dreamt of cities and other countries. Besides, I’ve never had the opportunity to go anywhere. I’m an ordinary villager; a town has never attracted me, and I’ve never taken any special trips. I’ve only been to Magadan.
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Valentina, graduate student, Saint Petersburg
I used to think of emigrating before. But now I think that I will stay in Russia because there’s basically everything here for bringing it to life. There are already enough immigrants abroad, and they are second-class people there.
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Dmitry, retired, Kaliningrad
I’ve never thought of emigration. I haven’t been anywhere myself.
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Amir, 18, student, Kaliningrad
I don’t think about emigration. I only moved to Russia recently and I like everything still. Russia is a more open country; there are many opportunities here.
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Nadezhda, flower vendor, Tolyatti
I haven’t considered emigration.
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What is patriotism but the love of the food one ate as a child?

Lin Yutang
Aleksandr, 19, law student, Tolyatti
I have been thinking about emigrating a lot; this idea has haunted me since I was eleven. Both my best friend at the time and I wanted to leave. There is no moving forward here. If you disregard certain limits, you are not welcome here, and consequently you have to look for other options, but you will not find them here.
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Elena, fish monger, Samara
I have not thought about emigration.
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Anna Ivanovna, 73, retired engineer, Vladivostok
I have never thought about leaving Russia. If I had to, I would walk back to my motherland. No other country can compare to the motherland. My city, Chelyabinsk, is like a mother to me.
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Nata, neurosurgeon, Grozny
I used to think about leaving. I’d eagerly move to Moscow, to work at Burdenko’s clinic. I would go for residency training for about five years. If I liked it there, I’d stay.
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Vladimir Alexandrovich, engineer, Volgograd
I have never thought about leaving Russia. I am a patriot. My aunt lives in Moscow, and when her husband occupied a top position there, I could easily have moved to Moscow myself, but such an idea did not even occur to me. Even if I were offered a job with a big salary, I would not move.
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Alexander, 18, architecture student, Samara
I thought about emigrating at some point. It seemed to me at the time that there would be no prospects for me here after I finish my studies.
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Natalia, 38, entrepreneur, Sevastopol
Of course, all the time. We don't want our children to live here, neither in Russia, nor in Ukraine. Despite my love for Ukraine, despite the people, who are very kind, generous, happy and good, I don't want my children to live here. And it's not because of the country nor the people, but because of the regime. Overall, it's because of the Soviet Union, which still exists. People say, Soviet Union fell apart, but in reality it's still here, everywhere, in us, in all of us, and I don't want my children to know what it is. It's very sad.
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I, of course, despise my Fatherland from head to toe, but it vexes me when a foreigner shares this feeling of mine.

Alexander Pushkin
Yulya, 27, art-director at a night club, Sochi
I think about emigrating all the time. It is easier to work abroad. I love Asian countries. There are more opportunities there; it is easier there to set up a business. And I love it that the weather is warm there.
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Vlad, hip-hop dancer, Volgograd
I have thought about emigration before. However, after visiting Europe, I realized that there is something in Russia that makes life here better than anywhere. Some people call it the Russian soul. As for me, I call it the happy medium between the East and the West. You can only find it in Russia.
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Oksana, 33, lawyer, Samara
Sometimes, when I feel scared, I think of emigrating. For example, when I see someone persecuted for his civil position. What if it gets to be like it was during Stalin’s times? But the fact that my relatives are here stops me. For that reason I wish to stay in Russia, to make this country better. I believe that Russia is a country of opportunities, and if each person had even the slightest wish to make it better, then we could live here no worse off than in Europe.
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Nikolai, construction worker, Tyumen Region
I have not thought about leaving Russia, of course. I have never thought about that, and besides, I have never had any opportunities to leave.
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Larisa, social worker, Kaliningrad
Emigration is essentially a great thing, but I wish everyone liked it best in his or her own motherland.
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Asya, 16, Saint Petersburg
I used to think of emigrating about a year and a half ago. I thought that I didn’t have education or a work field for myself here. But then I decided that I didn’t know what it’s like abroad. Like, my mother studied in America, but she’s got a technical profession. I know that liberal professions are more difficult, in the sense that there’s higher competition, and I’m just afraid that I wouldn’t cope with it. Then, I’ve got a friend who studies in Finland now. They might give a good education there, but there’s almost nothing to do there.
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Bakhotyr, 64, unemployed, Sochi
Have I ever thought about leaving Russia? God forbid! No matter how good or bad life is, Russia is my motherland. My future is in Russia; there is nothing dearer to me than Russia.
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Patriotic acts are done during wars, especially against some foreign invaders. There can be no patriotic acts during civil war, because any civil war, any war within one country, is fratricide. Even a heroic act is a sin and a crime.

 

Aleksandr, audio salesman, Tyumen
In my time, in the 1990s, when I was younger, I probably thought about leaving. But those were different times. There are more opportunities now, but I do not feel like leaving, especially considering what is now going on in Europe. I have been to Estonia—it was a nightmare! On the surface everything is super, everything seems to be fine, stores are crowded; however, when you talk to the common people, it turns out that everything is really bad.
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Aleksei, artist, born in Moscow, currently in New York
I am currently engaged in the emigration process. I am trying to leave Russia for good.
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Igor, sculptor, Saint Petersburg
I haven’t thought of emigrating. I just don’t need it. When bad times come to a country, one probably shouldn’t leave, but should stay and live through it until it’s well again.
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Galina Nikolaevna, 83, retired, Samara
I’ve never thought of leaving Russia. I’m pleased with everything. But my daughter lives in Slovenia: with the beginning of her pension, she just left for Europe to live.
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Olga, retired foreign trade expert, Pionersk
I haven’t thought of leaving Russia. I think it’s easier to move when you are young, but when I was young, I didn’t have such a desire. Then I got an interesting job, I traveled all over the world, saw a lot, so I think I look a bit differently at this—citizenship and everything. It seemed strange to me also when our experts were moving to other countries, thinking that they would go there and live by Russian or Ukrainian laws. Well, of course, if you are interested in these people, this culture, then it’s great to come and see. But moving... Although I felt very comfortable in India, I wouldn’t like to stay there forever.
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Aleksei, 33, construction worker, Pionersk
I haven’t thought about leaving Russia.
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Dmitry, theater directing student, Volgograd
I have obviously thought about emigrating, but I have come to the conclusion that I should move my own country forward. I am proud to be living in Russia, because this is the largest country in the world. Russia has such a rich history compared to the United States, for example. I do not understand people who want to move abroad to build their careers there. I think people should build their careers in Russia to move the country forward. But I do not think I will stay in the Volgograd region. Lately, I do not like the atmosphere here and people’s attitude toward life and their country. People in Volgograd rarely demonstrate patriotic feelings, probably because since they were little, they have been seeing the authorities advocating respect for the battle of Stalingrad, and everybody is fed up with it. Everyone associates patriotism with this, and there are no other associations.
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I should like to be able to love my country and still love justice. I don't want just any greatness for it, particularly a greatness born of blood and falsehood.

Albert Camus. Resistance, Rebellion, and Death
Galina, executive recruiter, Vladivostok
I do not think about emigrating. My husband is from Estonia, he has got family in Tallinn. After college we were thinking about where to live and work, and I spent a year in Tallinn. I then felt all too well what it meant to be a foreigner. Although we had good opportunities and job offers, I realized that this was not for me, that I would be more comfortable living among Russians.
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Sergei, retired engineer and taxi-driver, Kaliningrad
I personally haven’t thought of emigrating. But my kid does. She hasn’t lived abroad yet, just visited. Well, she’ll live on and see. Life will show.
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Andrei, sailor, Vladivostok
I have never thought about leaving Russia.
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Valentina, retired construction worker, Tolyatti
I would not want to move to a different country even if I had the means. I would never exchange Russia for any other country. No matter how poorly we Russians live, our motherland is still the best there is. Something is wanting, of course, but I do not know who is to blame for that.
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Khristina, 30, financial analyst, originally from Saratov, lives in Kiev
My family and I thought about emigrating two years ago. After making a list of countries for possible emigration, we were supposed to spend a month in Vietnam, but after the first two weeks we felt miserable, because we longed for those Russian birch trees and Russian-speaking people. We found Russian TV channels there and watched them, although I do not usually watch Russian TV at home. It made me feel better, and I realized that it would probably be hard for me to emigrate.
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Dmitry, 44, dental technician, Samara
I have never thought about leaving Russia. I am all right where I am.
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Ilya, software engineer, Vladivostok
I have thought about emigration, but I have not yet seriously considered the idea of moving anywhere.
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In other countries, you either agree with the government and dig the ditch, or you disagree and don’t dig the ditch. In Russia it's different: you disagree with the authorities but you still dig the ditch—not because you are told to do so, but out of spite.

 

Nikita, 8, Yalta
Beyond Yalta borders – of course.
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Maks, 31, entrepreneur, Alushta
I constantly think about this. I wake up thinking about immigration and go to bed thinking the same.
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Lyudmila Andreevna, 58, street cleaner, Birobidzhan
I haven’t thought about leaving Russia.
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Tatiana, chef, Pionersk
At first, I thought about emigrating, but then I decided that I didn’t want to leave. The grass is greener on the other side. It is sometimes hard, but people survive in all conditions, and those who stayed made the right choice, I think.
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Anastasia, 22, studies international relations, born in Moscow, living in Tallinn
I have never thought about emigrating, but I have always wanted to study abroad. In Russia, the educational system is too corrupt, and its quality is not as high as in Europe. This is why I wanted to study abroad and then return home to use my knowledge in my country.
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Maria, painter and art teacher, Moscow
Now that the kids have grown, I have begun thinking about emigration. I had not thought about it before.
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Evgeny, 24, unemployed, Simferopol
No, never. Simferopol is my home-city, my motherland.
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I do not know who a real Russian is. This is a difficult question. I think the most important thing is that he isn't a Nazi.

 

Natalia, singer, Vladivostok
I emigrated from Russia a very long time ago, at the age when one doesn’t think about such things. I moved when I was seven years old, studied at school in England until I turned sixteen, and then moved to New York.
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Emma Vasilievna, geologist, Khabarovsk
Neither I nor my children have considered emigration. I do not want to go anywhere—not to China, not to the United States, not to Germany. I do not even want to visit other countries.
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Alexander, 29, unemployed, homeless, Saint Petersburg
I wouldn’t like to move from Russia.
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Siyavush, 24, taxi driver, Tolyatti
Yes, I considered emigration. I would very much like to live in the Arab Emirates.
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Konstantin, 23, human rights activist, Tolyatti
I think about emigrating all the time.
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Aleksei, aid worker, former soccer player, Saint Petersburg
I thought of emigrating once, when I got an offer to play in Germany. I was very anxious about it, because those were the ’90s, and I really wanted to get out of this country. But I don’t want to leave now. I don’t even get thoughts like that any more.
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Aleksei, 37, delivery driver, Kaliningrad
I have thought of emigration, because I witness the policy currently being conducted in this country, especially in the legislative sphere. But I am not permitted to leave because I’m now under investigation. I’ve got a Lithuanian passport, but I can’t leave the country, even though my criminal case doesn’t hold water, figuratively speaking.
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Patriotism is too deep a feeling to depict in the posing for a photograph.

Charles Chaplin
Sergei, bartender, Vladivostok
No, I do not think about emigration. I do not even want to leave my city. I think that I might be a patriot of my city rather than my country.
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Anastasia, 18, student, Tolyatti
Of course I have thought about emigration. I’d like to move, but there’s no such opportunity right now. Maybe something will change here and living standards will improve.
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Maxim, furniture magnate, Kaliningrad
I haven’t thought of emigration; this word is only a word to me. I think that we are all just guests in this land. A land can’t belong to anyone, because we come and go, but the land stays. You mustn’t move to America or anywhere else where life is good. Just create your own America where you live. America was also created by people; they created such conditions for themselves. It all depends on you.
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Natalia, janitor, Birobidzhan
I used to wish to leave Russia. But now I’ve got a lot of problems that I should solve here.
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Maxim, financial advisor, Vladivostok
I’d eagerly emigrate to the States if I had an opportunity to work there. Not because it’s bad for me here, but because when I participated in an election campaign there, I saw that these mechanisms really work there, albeit with some problems. One can really influence the life of his country there; you don’t have to constantly win against something. I could emigrate even with the loss of money, respect, living standards, and more—just for the feeling of being a free person.
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Zinaida, cook, Grozny
I have not thought about emigrating. Emigration is not my cup of tea.
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Alexander, 50, mayor, Tyumen region
I never considered emigration, even in the ’90s. I’ve got relatives in Germany: uncles, cousins. But in my family, the question of leaving has never been raised. My college-mates live in Germany; they are ethnic Germans. But even in Germany, no one considers them to be German; they are called a derogatory “Russky”. Nowadays, when traveling abroad on vacation, you face being taken for people of some secondary kind. But here, I feel I am a true, legitimate Russian, and I know that no one will limit me in anything. I think that Russia is a unique country, all in all; it welcomes everybody. There are 140 million of us here: all of different nationalities, and all people feel equal; no one is persecuted. Those who come here from neighboring countries might be “guest workers” in the beginning, but then you look at them later—they’ve become successful businessmen. And my college-mates who have moved abroad tell me that they have stopped living for themselves now, because they are not recognized [as equal people] there. They hope that their children and grandchildren will be.
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Patriotism is a kind of religion; it is the egg from which wars are hatched.

Guy de Maupassant. My Uncle Sosthenes
Ksenia, 16, Saint Petersburg
I’ve thought of going to study somewhere, but to move abroad forever—no.
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Farhat, 40, driver, Tyumen
I have never thought about emigrating. I love the place I live.
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Malika, 46, janitor, Grozny
I tried to move abroad twice, when everyone was leaving. I gathered all of the documents, but just couldn’t. Each time, when the military actions came to an end, we returned home.
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Sergei, fisherman, Vladivostok
I have not thought about leaving Russia. But I have been abroad—to China, Korea, Japan.
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Aleksandr, 23, barista, Moscow
I’ve been abroad: Turkey, Egypt, Spain, Italy, almost all the Former Soviet Union countries. But I’ve never thought of emigration.
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Andrei, 13, Pionersk
I would like to move to Berlin. Russian people are ill-mannered. Berlin is probably much better in this regard.
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Peter, editor, New York City
I have considered this when Russia was a country where optimism and idealism existed. Unfortunately, this was a very brief period in its history. I have even moved to Russia in the beginning of the 1990s, and I have really good friends who gave up their American citizenship for a Russian one, despite having a very successful business here. Of course, it's still possible, but not in today's Russia, where patriotism has become a warped term.
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My image of a real Russian is of a man who drinks vodka, works at a factory, and talks to a TV-set.

 

Madina, nurse, Grozny
I wouldn’t like to move from Russia. It’s better to live in the place you’re used to, where you are needed.
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Aziz, 21, fast food worker, Kaliningrad
My religion is Islam. I do not care where I live. I live where I am comfortable.
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Pyotr, advertising, Moscow
I had an opportunity to remain abroad for work, and I think that I could easily leave now, but I do not feel like leaving at all. Maybe this is a sort of mini-patriotism: I want to stay in Russia and make a difference here.
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Elena, brand manager, Sevastopol
No, I never thought of immigration. I love my Sevastopol very much, I want to live here, and I want my children and my grandchildren to live here too. Of course, they will be making their own decisions, but I definitely want them to grow up in Sevastopol. And that's why I quit my job, though my boss thought I'm crazy for doing that.
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Valerii, taxi driver, Sochi
I’ve never thought of leaving Russia. My children are here, my wife, brothers, sisters—they are all here. My family has been living here since 1916: my grandmother came here from Turkey after the genocide.
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Nadezhda Aleksandrovna, 76, retired, Sochi
I have never thought about leaving Russia.
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Grigory, aid worker, Saint Petersburg
On the one hand, I’m thinking of leaving. The idea of getting out of here is constantly present in my mind. But on the other hand, I’ll have to leave only if it gets really messy. For some reason I don’t want to leave Petersburg, or the country, either.
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Let migrants work if Russians cannot do it. Nowadays, Russia does not produce anything. People have no jobs. They don't know how to take care of their land. People do not even know how to milk a cow.

 

Zarima, works in the Akhmad-Hadji Kadyrov museum, Grozny
I have never thought about emigrating. I like it here, in my motherland.
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Nikita, 12, Kaliningrad
I do not think about leaving Russia. I love the place where I was born.
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Olga Mikhailovna, retired high school teacher, Jewish Autonomous Region
I don’t want to emigrate myself, but I think there should be no borders on our planet anymore. We should all travel where we want and communicate with people from all over the world.
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Vyacheslav, 53, homeless, used to work in construction, Saint Petersburg
I haven’t thought about emigration. Why would one need it? There’s no need to do it. Whatever happens, we don’t need a foreign country.
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Alexei, 33, construction worker, Birobidzhan
Lately, we’ve been thinking constantly of leaving. I don’t know about going abroad, but we’ve been thinking about the Krasnodar region. It’s easier to get a job there, and it’s also warmer.
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Roman, medical equipment supply, Saint Petersburg
I have not thought about emigrating. Why would I think about that? This would be a waste of time. I have traveled abroad; I was bored there. There is nothing to do there. I did not find other countries interesting.
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Shamil, 19, studies interior design in China, Grozny
I haven’t thought of emigration.
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We were supposed to spend a month in Vietnam, but after the first two weeks we longed for those Russian birch trees and for the language. We found Russian TV channels and watched them, although I never watch those at home. I felt so warm at heart, and I realized that it would probably be hard to emigrate.

 

Lera, fashion blogger, Vladivostok
I’d like to leave, but not because I dislike my country—I just want something more. I think that changing from one Russian city to another just makes things even-Steven. That is, if you’re running from rudeness at the passport office, from bribery amongst road policemen, from some other features of a genuinely Russian mentality, then it would be really useless to exchange Vladivostok for Moscow. You’ll face the same things there, but in Moscow everything will be more expensive and you’ll spend more time stuck in the traffic. If you want to escape from all those things I’ve named, you should change countries. And I’m inclined towards Asia more and more often. Maybe because it’s closer and I travel there a lot. I’m even ready to study Chinese. Lots of my friends have moved to China, Singapore, Thailand. Some own their own businesses, some got married (not necessarily to Asians—there are many expatriates there), and they all live well. So far, my favorite city in the word is Shanghai.
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Sergei, 35, activist, Saint Petersburg
I’m thinking of emigrating. Sometimes I think of what it would be like for me to live in a foreign country.
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Anastasiya, clown and ex-specialist in fraud detection, Volgograd
I do not think about moving abroad. I have had offers, but I do not want to do it.
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Viktor Petrovich, 68, retired, Saint Petersburg
What is there abroad? Bread doesn’t grown on trees there, either; people work just as hard and suffer just as we do.
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Tatiana, set designer, Volgograd
About ten years ago, when I was younger and went to college, I thought about emigrating. I do not think about it any more. I like it better in Russia. I would, of course, like to go abroad to visit other countries, but I would not like to live there.
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Nadezhda Grigorievna, retired engineer, Tolyatti
I’ve never thought about emigration. I’ve traveled across Russia a lot, but have never been abroad. I’m not interested in it.
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Anton, 18, student, Tolyatti
I have not thought about emigrating.
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Real Russians are from Saint Petersburg—with such delicate intelligence, a couldn’t-care-less attitude, light consumption. And the second type of real Russian is someone from beyond the Urals—tough silent-type guys who've got a gun under the floorboards, and they’ll sort it all out if necessary.

Ksenia, 33, restaurant manager, from Saint Petersburg, lives in Kiev
I have thought of emigrating, and even my first foreign trip was related to emigration. When I came to Amsterdam, I was shocked by everything that I saw: the people, and how clean and pretty it was there. But I realized then very well that I’d never move from [Russia] and I understand now that I won’t. Only if something happens that forces me to leave. Never say never. And many things have happened in my life, things that I couldn’t even predict. But, well, if I ever move somewhere abroad, it won’t happen just because I wanted to do so, but because of the circumstances.
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Marta, photo retoucher, Saint Petersburg
Yes, I’ve thought of emigrating. But only because I like a warm climate and would like to live somewhere where it is warm and there is a sea, and the weather is not so sadly melancholic.
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Stanislav, 42, entrepreneur, Moscow
There is no such thing as emigration to me. The whole globe belongs to all people. You can go anywhere. I’ve traveled a lot: I’ve visited Europe, and North and Central Africa several times.
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Andrei, 31, hostel manager, Sevastopol
Yes, I thought about it. I've looked at Canada, Bulgaria and some more exotic countries like Thailand or India. But it didn't really work out so I decided that's for the best. I actually quite enjoy living here, it's not bad. Maybe those were the moments of despair.
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Kirill, 14, Kaliningrad
I have not thought about leaving Russia.
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Roman, executive recruiter, Vladivostok
I’ve been thinking about emigration for a very long time, since before 1992 even.
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Kirill, banker, Moscow
I am prepared to move someplace where I can work. But emigration is not under my consideration. I cannot say that I am opposed to emigration, that it is alien to my nature. If I had an opportunity to obtain a second citizenship, I would seize it. But I do not see this as an end in itself.
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What is patriotism but the love of the food one ate as a child?

Lin Yutang
Ksenia, 26, waitress, Alushta
Yes, probably. But not forever, I would want to leave but to return one day.
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Yury Evgenievich, 76, retired, Tolyatti
I haven’t been abroad. But if I possessed enough money and if I were oppressed like those who were at Bolotnaya Square, I’d leave. We are all people; everyone wants to live.
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Akim, 38, butcher, Bakhchysarai
No.
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Andrei, 32, unemployed, Samara
I have been thinking about moving to Germany.
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Anna, interior designer, Saint Petersburg
I think of emigrating all the time.
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Mikhail, homeless, Saint Petersburg
I have thought of emigrating, and I still think [of it]. But I’m already old now; no one would take me.
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Irina, 50, social worker, Simferopol
Yes, of course, I would like to. In comparison to us, others live so well – they have health-care, jobs, and a different attitude towards people in general. But unfortunately I can't immigrate now.
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I, of course, despise my Fatherland from head to toe, but it vexes me when a foreigner shares this feeling of mine.

Alexander Pushkin
Alina, event planner, Moscow
I’ve never thought seriously about emigrating, but the circumstances that are appearing in my present life make me think about it. Several months ago, the Greenpeace activists on the ship Arctic Sunrise in the Pecherskoe Sea wanted to hold a peaceful action at the Prirazlomnaya platform. But they couldn’t do that. Moreover, a helicopter with special forces came and captured all of them and forced them to go to Murmansk. And then, later, they were forwarded to SIZO-1 [a pre-trial detention isolator] of Murmansk, accused of piracy, which was later changed to vandalism, and forwarded to Saint Petersburg. The trial hasn’t ended yet.
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Indira, make up artist, born in Chechnya, living in Sweden
I have obviously always wanted to go abroad to see how other people live and to learn about how the world works. But I have never had plans to move abroad.
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Vera, 33, manager, Samara
Yes, I’m guilty; I’ve thought of emigrating.
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Sergei, 53, TV repairman, Kaliningrad
I haven’t thought of moving from Russia. What for? I’ve got acquaintances who live there [abroad], and there’s nothing good out there.
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Anastasia, theater student, Volgograd
I sometimes think about emigrating. I have never been abroad, but I think the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. Every country has its problems.
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Lyudmila, retired librarian, Volgograd
No, I have not thought about leaving Russia.
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Tamara Alexandrovna, retired merchandiser, Volgograd
I have never thought about leaving Russia myself. But when my son was 18, I wanted him to go abroad to get a degree—and then come back home, of course. I wanted him to have an opportunity to live somewhere else besides Russia so that he would have something to compare his life in Russia with.
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Patriotic acts are done during wars, especially against some foreign invaders. There can be no patriotic acts during civil war, because any civil war, any war within one country, is fratricide. Even a heroic act is a sin and a crime.

 

Vera Ivanovna, retired nurse, Kaliningrad
I like living in Russia.
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Tatiana, entrepreneur, Vladivostok
I do not live in any country full-time. I am currently dividing my time between Korea, Thailand, and Singapore. I am living on planes, in a manner of speaking. And I know for sure that in 50 years, the world will become just one big common boat. It already is, we just have not realized it yet. It is not about patriotism that we should talk, but about preserving the ecosystem for our children in the context of the entire planet Earth and not just one specific country.
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Yulia, trader, Moscow
I am currently residing abroad, and I am constantly thinking about moving to a different country. I have lived in three countries, and for me, moving to a different place if the desire or necessity arises is a normal course of life.
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Sergei, 32, from Saint Petersburg, lives in Tallinn
Of course I have thought of emigration. I’ve spent two years abroad, in Ecuador, so I know what it’s like from my own experience. But I came back to Russia because you still long for your motherland when you live in an alien country.
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Sergei Alekseyevich, 78, heating engineer, Samara
I have not thought about leaving Russia. I have lived in this city for fifty years.
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Frida, retired, Tyumen region
I've never thought of emigration. I could have left, but my motherland is Russia. Why should I go somewhere else? My soul would hurt abroad.
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Leonid, 34, industrial alpinist, Saint Petersburg
I don’t like the thought of emigration. I think that it’s a dishonorable retreat from one’s territory. Both of my grandfathers were military people. So it looks like we relinquish our inner territories to our inner enemy. This is all very offensive. I was born in the city of Leningrad, so where else could I go? Where is better?
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I should like to be able to love my country and still love justice. I don't want just any greatness for it, particularly a greatness born of blood and falsehood.

Albert Camus. Resistance, Rebellion, and Death
Natalia, art director, Tyumen region
I have not thought about leaving Russia. I have never even thought about leaving this place, this village. I love my village, and I do not even want to move to one of the neighboring communities. I have never been farther than Tobolsk, and even there I went only to participate in a competition.
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