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Russia

Below is mostly my opinion on how things in Russia are (hindsight is that I never truly lived in Russia, just was born there and left when 8 to Cyprus and then eventually Netherlands. Most of my opinion is thus formed on my visits to Russia, what I learn online and the things I talk about with Russians still in Russia and abroad).

Russian culture and history is fascinating but full of tragedies. It's tragic how the monstrosities Russian government unleashed on Ukraine were allowed to happen. It's hard to say how many inside Russia support this aggression as saying anything negative towards this massacre of Ukrainian people is punishable by prison.

I want to travel to Russia a lot and meet the different people there. Ask them how they live, what they think. I like to think a lot of people in Russia genuinely just want to live a life and are just a prisoner of the unfortunately harsh conditions. More and more people, I think are finding out that staying 'outside of politics' will bring nothing good and eventually something has to be done. Unfortunately though the situation got so bad that voicing an opinion on the street or even sometimes online can land you in jail or get you fired. Not everyone has ability to leave Russia. Not everyone wants to leave Russia for various reasons (family, love for the country in whatever form that is, fear of uncertainty of life abroad, ..).

There is many people talking and discussing all the unfairness that's happening in Russia every day. Literally non stop. I personally try to limit my exposure to it as it does get exhausting. Russia for all its warts is genuinely beautiful country with many amazing peace loving people. It's actually incredible place to live if you have money. I can't say enough good things about infrastructure of cities like Moscow and Saint Petersburg. Haven't been to other cities yet in Russia to comment. Oh and Russian language is truly fun to speak compared to English.

Having said that, the worst thing about living in Russia is a certain sense of uneasiness in how your life can change drastically due to living in essentially a police state. That includes both trying to live a life with values that voicing any kind of opinion should be free and of no prison/fine consequence. But also if you're like me and enjoy an occasional trip with psychedelics, I would not feel well to risk doing it in Russia due to their archaic laws.

I don't want to be some armchair analyst though and I genuinely don't know a lot. The west lies a lot and have their own sophisticated propaganda machines for crafting out new 'current thing' narratives. So I just try to live my life and build great tools that hopefully accelerate the future where all countries are free from oppression.

I have a mostly Russian Twitter List I fancy and use daily. For political updates, there's many accounts I like. Max Seddon does nice summaries often.

Notes