“When the war started, I went a few times to the <Berlin> main train station where volunteers were meeting people from Ukraine. Trains were often delayed, so the volunteers were hanging around the icy wind blowing through the station for 2-3 hours and just waiting.
When I was approaching the crowd, my breath caught. I couldn't believe that people were willing to help and get involved so selflessly. Someone came after work, someone was on duty at the station early in the morning, and these were very different people who all had one thing in common - a desire to help Ukrainians who had fled the war in some way.
I think about my personal responsibility and talk to my loved ones about it. I don't think I've ever really stood up for my views and over the years I've only talked about them with people who shared them.
With some friends, we could meet at public rallies without any agreement; with others, the topic of politics seemed marginal, awkward, and required a proactive stance from the interlocutor. I avoided it because of my own reservations and fears, which I now regret.
There at the train station I imagined sometimes I could see the faces of my Moscow acquaintances under their face masks - with whom we went to rallies and protests back then when it was still possible. This made me feel especially bitter”.