...do not give up and do not despair, do what you think is the right thing to do. Russia will definitely be free.
Small story in the time of a big tragedy
I've been told that you'd like to hear some of our stories - people from Russia and Belarus, who had their working visa approved before the conflict but once they got to Prague they cannot submit the biometrics, get the working / blue card (I cannot call it a 'war' because I'll be prosecuted in Russia, if Czech government sends me back, just for saying this word).
A short disclaimer beforehand, I feel quite bad telling my story or complaining about anything, while Ukrainian people are the ones who are suffering, the situation is horrible and I really hope the war will end ASAP! And it's understandable that in this whole big tragedy, some smaller stories like ours will simply get overlooked.
To Czech republic
To start with, I'm an IT Engineer, Solution Architect to be more specific, and I've been working for a big IT company (which still doesn't want to be named publicly) for more than 5 years. Last April they offered me and my wife a relocation to Prague due to business reasons. As we were looking for relocation for a while at that time, and I had been in Czechia a couple of times before (we always had a very good time here), so I immediately accepted this offer.
So for about a year, we've been preparing the documents required for the visa - which includes a translated uni diploma, confirmation of no criminal record, and other background checks. Even though we were going through Program klíčový a vědecký personál program, where the whole visa obtaining process should take just a few months, there was a covid restrictions period in an embassy, so it was closed for several months straight.
We started going to the Czech language courses, learning some bits of Czech history. Finally, we got our working visa approved in mid-January, and we had a plan to move to Prague between 21-27 of February in order to start working here... Just an unfortunate coincidence.
In Prague with frozen pizza
Once we came here, our relocation provider was trying to get an electronic confirmation in order to start working and get an appointment for biometrics from the MVCR but they got a negative reply, asking to wait for 'some' time things may change. So now we are here in Prague for a month already and we see that this situation is only affecting Russian and Belarusian citizens, who are getting their FIRST work permit.
As of daily life, on a second week living here, Mastercard and Visa blocked all of the Russian cards, so we were immediately left with no money here. So it was a colleague of mine who basically saved us by sending some cash through Western Union (since then this system is blocked for transfers from Russia too). Opening a bank account became practically impossible here for Russians, even with a signed working contract and D visa is not enough, they do ask for a blue or working card. So, it's now mostly frozen pizza as our daily ration, at least for now.
Czechs are nice though!
This way we found ourselves in a pretty much full blockade - people, who were never supporting Putin and his regime, still getting cancelled just based on our nationality (reminds a little of our communists' past with a collective responsibility/blame).
At the same time, talking to the local Czechs, they all are very sympathetic to our situation and try to help us whenever they can. Fellow Redditors say that we can apply for asylum visas here but I'm not sure if they understand how long this process will take and which kinds of proof of persecution from the government you should provide.
We have just about 30 days left here before we have to leave Czechia in order not to violate the entry visa rules (60 days in total), so it's becoming very urgent for us.
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We talk about the current problems of Russia and of its people, standing against the war and for democracy. We strive to make our content as accessible as possible to the European audience.
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Our stand on the Russian invasion to Ukraine
Russia started the war against Ukraine. This war is happening from 2014. It has only intensified on February 24th 2022. Milions of Ukrainians are suffering. The perpetrators of this must be brought to justice for their crimes.
Russian regime tries to silence its liberal voices. Russian people against the war exist - and the Russian regime tries its best to silence them. We want to prevent that and make their voices heard.
Connection is crucial. The Russian liberal initiatives are hard to read for European public at times. The legal, social and historical context of Russia is not always clear. We want to share information, build bridges and connect the liberal Russia with The West.
We believe in dialogue, not isolation. The oppositional powers in Russia will not be able to change anything without the support of the democratic world. We also believe that the dialogue should go both ways.
The choice is yours. We understand the anger for the Russian crimes. It is up to you whether you want to listen to the Russian people standing against this.