masha

Even when I was leaving Russia, I kept thinking 'who am I'? My husband has a second identity, he has an Armenian family, he is a guest everywhere. I do not have a second identity. Everyone told me about emigration that 'you will never belong there', but I never felt 'at home' in Russia either.

Yes, I thought, I will be Russian in Berlin, I will show people that Russians can be such, that we know three foreign languages, that we can translate the text of the musical Hamilton into Russian - about what a nation, what a citizen and a country are. In translating it, I genuinely thought that all this could somehow make people in Russia think.

The world of Russians is now divided into those who left long ago, those who just left and those who stayed. And we all speak different languages, we are far apart. After all, stories about the war are not a year or two old, we have been waiting for something to break for years.

Paradoxically, in Berlin the war is felt more strongly than in Moscow. And in Moscow they are holding round tables about Russian culture, whether it should be cancelled it or not - calm down, I think, that's not what we are talking about at the moment. But I understand them, the ground is gone from under their feet. Many of those who are left are trying to close their eyes and not see the truth. Because it is impossible to do otherwise.

My youngest son was 11 days old when it all began. I read about the shelling of the maternity hospital and thought "God, how can it be", it could have been me, it was just a different fate.

When my son is two months old, a three-month-old girl dies in Odesa. I know what a three-month-old baby is and for me it's just under my skin. And I don't know what can be done about it all.

I found an outlet in volunteering online. It's really hard to do it in person right now. At the railway station I meet a woman from Mykolaiv who has had everything bombed out and nowhere to go back to. For Easter I baked little cakes and took them to the train station and people did not believe me, they are already unused to the fact that there can be enough food. I keep the train timetable up to date for the volunteers, they say it helps a lot. I feel useful and it's very supportive. A few hours a day I at least reduce the amount of evil in this world.

Russia is a mother addict who is fizzing with her own greatness and doesn't care what happens to her children, what roads there are, what education there is. Cancer patients shoot themselves in pain, old people beg, who cares about your greatness. My grandfather did not go to victory parades - the greatest of festivities in Russia - it was hard for him to remember. When your friend is torn apart by a shell next to you- what can you do with that memory.

I wish imperial ambitions would die down and people would think about how they live their lives before telling others how to live theirs. I kept trying to understand what the Russian idea is. So far it consists only of 'we will go to heaven - and they will just die'.

My mother watched a lot of Russian television, and I took her to Bulgaria away from the Russian propaganda. Her views changed.
After all, our parents are not evil people, so there's no way they can believe what's going on. I had a moment when I asked myself - what personally prevents me from believing that it didn't happen? I do not want there to be a war. I don't want that there would be Bucha. I don't want that there would be Mariupol. I want these corpses to stand up and go home too.

I have a dream - after Ukraine's victory to play Hamilton in Kyiv in Ukrainian. Where King George (the main antagonist who doesn't believe that the colonies will be successful in their revolution) will sing in Russian, I have already translated it.