It Can’t Continue That Way

Boris went to Saint-Petersburg again. The main (and almost the only) reason for this trip was the dissertation defense of his post-grad. This student is going to emigrate from Russia, so it was vital to have all the paperwork (he won’t be able to receive his diploma for several months, but at least Bors did whatever he could).

Boris was surprised to find out that it was very difficult to get the tickets on the bus. Remember that his bus is now almost the sole mean of communication between Russia and the rest of the world. We still could not figure out, however, why all of a sudden the demand had grown so much.

Today, when Boris returned back to Helsinki, the first thing he told me was, “now, I know why there are no tickets available.” Most of the seats on the bus were occupied by families clearly heading to their vacation destinations, with huge luggage, wearing sunhats and shorts. After he complained about mothers screaming at their children, I asked: ok, what’s your problem with this? Screaming Russian mothers are, unfortunately, a very familiar site. He said: It’s not right! It’s not right that they continue to live like nothing is happening!

I could not agree more. That’s why I support Zelinsky’s call to Western governments to completely ban Russian tourists. And I do not want to hear anything about “those who are innocent.” Not everybody can take out to the streets. Not everybody can take a risk of arrest, and not everybody can accept the possibility of being fired. But there is one thing that an honest person can do: not allow themself to live life as if nothing happens.

I saw this video on my friend’s blog, a horrific video showcasing the worst cases of ignorance. I can’t comprehend it: I feel my guilt all the time, even though I never voted for Putin. How come people in this video do not?!

6 thoughts on “It Can’t Continue That Way

  1. You are the same Russian as others. However, you dont feel guilty traveling around the world and have fun in your life. Why do others have to? American passport doesnt make 100% American.

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    1. The passport does not make me American, but my allegiance makes me a US citizen, and I take these things very seriously. Of course, when I was taking an oath, I could not imagine I would indeed have to choose between two allegiances, but I knew what I was entering. I’d say the math does not apply here in a direct way: I am most definitely 100% American, but it does not mean that I am not Russian. I am. There are a number of reasons why I didn’t denounce my Russian citizenship when the war started, although both Anna and I had this initial urge. I blogged earlier about why I decided against it.

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  2. I do not agree on complete ban, but that is more for personal reasons. I feel guilt and shame, but I enjoyed my holiday this year. Also, considering how narrow the definition of family ties are in the visa legislation, a ban would prevent me from seeing nephews and their children, although they are the closest and almost only blood relations I have.

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    1. I understand that many innocent people will suffer. On a personal level, you might imagine what I would face if a similar decision were made by the US government. And we talked about it this very morning. I am sure that some exceptions/adjustments will be made, but look what happens when traveling for medical reasons is allowed: everybody who wants to travel can buy a request for medical treatment.

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