...do not give up and do not despair, do what you think is the right thing to do. Russia will definitely be free.
Who am I?
I worked as a film curator and an international programmes specialist in a state cultural institution. My civil position has always been different to that of the state. When there was an active political struggle in Russia (in the 2010s), I felt like a part of the opposition movement, attending demonstrations, signing petitions and appeals. First, I was trying to find ways to express my position legally, then, as the regime started to 'tighten the screws', illegally, but always peacefully. I have never participated in any events that are against the principles of freedom - I've never advocated neither violence nor war.
Things got worse
While the autocratic regime was growing stronger and the opposition was being destroyed, my political activity had ceased. The world can now only recall the murder of Boris Nemtsov and imprisonment of Alexey Navalny, but there were a lot of things that happened in between.
The New Greatness case (2008) taught us that you are not protected, even on the Internet. Ivan Golunov's case proved us again - there is always a bag of drugs, found by a policeman, that can put you into jail. There were dozens of such cases throughout the 2010s. We have learnt to live the life behind the fence, to build a career and improve your life on our private island of safety. Take a filtered coffee on your way to work, have your food delivered by the evening. Though, we have forgotten that nobody treats Russians as badly as their own country.
“Moscow society is a crooked mirror of Europe, but in Moscow everyone is seized with fear,” Malaparte wrote in 1929, as if referring to us in the 2010s. The risks of being deprived of liberty and being a subject to violence became ever higher. I became cautious and paranoid - while talking to my friends on the phone, while communicating with my foriegn colleagues and friends (one can get a Foreign Agent status in Russia), even when talking in my own kitchen.
Once my boyfriend, a journalist, is back from work, he takes our phones to another room and turns the tap on so we can talk about real things. I started to worry even about my scientific work. While doing research on German cinema, I had to be very careful, as a new law against Rehabilitation of Nazism was released, and it had been shown how it was misused (art. 354.1. Penalty code, Russia). When trying to organise a retrospective of German films, at the stage of approval, I was advised not to do it if I did not want to lose my job.
On February 24th, I realised that I no longer have a private life, the regime has occupied this territory of my personality, starting actions with which I do not agree. I cannot silently endure the military aggression perpetrated on my behalf. In the very first days, I signed a number of petitions and letters, I attended rallies, I published a lot of anti-war materials, I transferred money for humanitarian aid to the Ukrainian organisation, I am a volunteer in the Russian human rights organisation.
During the war, Russia's domestic policy began to tighten:
- My signatures under an open letter from Russian workers of culture and art against the war with Ukraine can be the reason for dismissal according to the decree of the Ministry of Culture at any moment. There's no official paper that says to do so, yet it is already happening (dismissal of employees of the Moskino cinema-circuit).
- I also am afraid to be prosecuted for signing an anti-war petition created by Lev Ponomarev, who was arrested.
- My donations to help Ukraine could be considered as the reason to put me into jail for up to 20 years, as per High Treason (art. 275 Penalty Code, Russia)
- I can be tracked by facial recognition system, used by the State, and proved to have participated in the demonstrations, which are prohibited and can lead to fines and imprisonment
- My anti-war position, expressed in posts from various non-state-controlled media, can become a reason for persecution under the article Fakes about Armed Forces of Russian Federation
- I am afraid of persecution for volunteering in the human rights organisation which is recognised as a «foreign agent».
I can fall out of the bounds of the law at any moment. In Russia, the law has retroactive effect. All the actions I have taken throughout my life can be condemned, according to the news laws that were not a thing up until recently. I live in a country outside the legal field. I want to be a citizen, but in order to tell the truth about the crimes committed in and by my country, I have to become a refugee.
To help from a safe place
I've left Russia because the very fear turns a person into something inhuman. Wanting to be a human, I can't go back home. In the safe place I can start having plans of making projects that could help Ukraine, because it seems that helping Russia is an impossible thing to do.
Our media platform would not exist without an international team of volunteers. Do you want to become one? Here's the list of currently opened positions:
- TypeScript developer for Ask a Russian
- Czech translators
- Editors for Ask a Russian
- Social media managers
- Social researchers
- SEO Specialist (technical)
- Graphic designers
Is there any other way you would like to contribute? Let us know:
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.
Do you want to cooperate on content made by the Russian standing against the war?
- Our team of writers, journalists and researchers will be happy to cooperate with you on new content.
- As our content is under creative commons, we are able to allow you to publish it on your platform (with attribution).
Are you a person of Russia or know someone who would like to share their story? Please contact us. Your experience will help people understand how Russia works.
We can publish your experience anonymously.
Our project is ran by international volunteers - not a single member of the team is paid in any way. The project, however, has running costs: hosting, domains, subscription to paid online services (such as Midjourney or Fillout.com) and advertising.
Our transparent bank account is 2702660360/2010, registered at Fio Banka (Czech republic). You can either send us money directly, or scan one of the QR codes bellow in your banking app:
Note: The QR codes work only when you scan them directly from your banking app.
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.