«I was born and brought up in Russia, and of course I consider myself Russian. Being Russian has always been my natural state, but after leaving Russia, I had to look at it much more closely. Emigration affects one's outlook a lot, but in the end, I think it is important not to mimic the environment or try to impose one's rules, but to preserve one's integrity.
My wife, our young daughters and I left about seven years ago, first for Israel where we spent 5 years, and then to Berlin. Our departure was not a political statement, and more than once we talked about returning to Moscow, but after the war started we hardly remember it at all.
I did not believe, or did not want to believe, until the last moment, that there would be a war. I was soothing myself by thinking along the lines of "well, it just can't happen" and by reading columns on Facebook from journalists who hold roughly the same opinion, but who explain everything logically and with numbers.
This war is a huge disaster, first and foremost for Ukraine and its people. I still haven't fully realised that Putin decided to attack Ukraine and still cowardly called it a "special operation".
My wife's aunt and grandparents live in Kyiv and I know them well. In the first weeks of the war, my wife tried to persuade them to leave and we looked for options for evacuation, but they refused. My wife often talks to her grandmother, and every time she says how painful it is for her to watch her beloved country being destroyed. They are now expecting a new offensive against Kyiv.
After three months, the words "evacuation", "offensive" and "shelling" sound mundane - we are getting used to it, but I think it is important to record the whole picture of the crime and not to forget that this new reality is not normal. What the future holds for Russia and not only Russia, I do not know, after February 24th I have given up on making forecasts»