The testimony of a Russian IT refugee in Barcelona: “I have fled from Moscow because I am incapable of shooting at my family”

You’re a refugee? “No, the refugees are these mothers with their children in their arms escaping from the bombs. Mine is more… I don’t know.” Silence, she distracts her gaze at the windows and comes back to reality. “Maybe it is. I’m not here for fun: I flee from repression, from the lack of freedom, and above all from the fear of having to fight in a war that is not mine. I don’t plan on going back. Maybe I am a refugee,” assumes DV, a 26-year-old Russian who on March 3 managed to escape from a Moscow besieged by hunger and Putin’s propaganda. Most of his maternal family lives in Ukraine and tries to flee the conflict DV tells his story from a town in the Maresme, with a terrible fear that his surroundings in Russia suffer the consequences of his flight. Like DV, dozens of young people try to leave behind the country of Vladimir Putin looking for shelter in Barcelona. It’s the other exile from the war in Eastern Europe.

DV agrees to speak with EL PERIÓDICO along with his mother, OB, a doctor who has lived in the United States for years and who, just before the coronavirus pandemic, bought an apartment in a town in Maresme. Both request anonymity. stunned that the people they have left in Moscow will be purged or that “someone” comes for them and makes them return. “Our position is not easy. We are against the war, in Ukraine we have our whole family but we are Russians,” says the mother. “The word war is forbidden in Russia, it’s amazing,” the son interrupts. family history is intertwined in what today are trenches, bombs and destruction.

OB was born in Crimea, a place he has not been able to return to since 2014, when Russia annexed the peninsula. Her mother, sister and her nephews have managed to flee Ukraine and are now safe in Romania. Also in Crimea the son was born, DV “When we were five years old we went to live in Moscow and there my childhood was very normal. had a good life“, it says.

the boy studied physical engineering and computer science in various multinationals such as Bayer and MSD and in a government hospital in Moscow. “I realized that things were not going well three or four years ago, when I started following the opposition leader Alexei Navalniwho is now in jail”, says the boy. The mother looks at him and nods. “Everything went wrong with the annexation of Crimea. We used to go every summer, but we stopped going, we couldn’t talk anymore“, Follows the mother. In Russia, she was in opposition demonstrations. “Do you know what it’s like to go to a protest and not know if you’re going to come home?“. Some protests to which, later, the son joined very punctually. “In Russia if you keep quiet, if you do not participate in politics, you can live well. I remember that when I worked in the hospital they forced me to go vote for Putin and I had to send them a photo, you did it and you were calm, “he explains. The outbreak of war, the invasion of Ukraine, made everything unbearable.

Detentions at the boarding gate

“February 24 was a catastrophe. It was seeing the bombings, hearing Putin’s speech and asking my family to leave. At first they didn’t want to. It was as if they grabbed me by both hands and broke me in half. In one I had my son in Moscow, in the other, my mother and the rest of my family in Ukraine”, explains the mother. That morning DV searched free media and learned that Putin had bombed all of Ukraine, not just the Donbás. And that this was a full-fledged invasion, no military deployments. “I began to feel very insecure, now the police can do what they want against you. The people who protested ended up detained… At any moment they could close the borders and call us up. I could fight if they attacked my country, but I don’t want to shoot my cousins, my family in an invasion I’m against“, he says. When he spoke with his mother, they both agreed to flee as soon as possible. “I was lucky, I managed to get out, but there are many people who cannot afford it or who are questioned by the police right at the boarding gate and cannot leave“Now leaving Russia is a crime, they put you on the blacklist. That’s why I haven’t told anyone that I’m gone, I don’t want them to have problems,” adds the young man.

In order to leave Russia, DV had to obtain a tourist visa from a European country. In the end, she got the Italian, in exchange for a significant amount of money. He flew to Abu Dhabi a week after the war broke out. “She was crazy, not only because of the pressure, the propaganda and the persecution. Prices began to rise, going to the market was a lottery, every day there were different prices“, he describes. From Abu Dhabi he jumped to Milan as a tourist and from there to El Prat, Barcelona. “The first thing I did was go to an ATM and take out as much money as I could. And luckily I did, now I would have been left with nothing.”

responsible for the war

Related news

Mother and son feel the bombardments as their own. They are supported by their relatives, whom they want to take to the Maresme as soon as possible. But at the same time, they feel responsible for the bombing. “It’s a feeling like the Germans who allowed Hitler to do all the barbarities. to feel you responsible because you have not shouted enough, because you have been silent and opted for the quiet life. And the ball has become so big that it’s our turn. If you don’t speak out in support of the Kremlin, they’re after you. And maybe yes we could have done more against Putin“, the mother is sincere.

The past can no longer be changed. The future is uncertain. “At the moment I’m still teleworking, but my boss is the only one who knows that I have left the country and he has told me that if I leave Russia he will have to fire me“, admits DV But above all he fears for the friends he has left at home. “They have money to survive, but with the rise in prices and the massive flight of multinationals, what are they going to do?”, he asks. He feels privileged , but she doesn’t have a solution either: “The priority is to reunite safely with our whole family and to end the war once and for all,” insists the mother. “We hope for the best, but prepare for the worst”. What is the worst? “Don’t make me say it. If I say it, it will come to pass.”

Leave a Comment