Russian woman living in the UK fears it is the ‘end of our lives as we know them’
Anna, 44, a marketing manager from the south of England, told the PA news agency that she was worried about what life would hold for her and fellow Russians across the globe as Vladimir Putin’s forces moved further into Ukraine towards Kyiv.
This is the end of our lives as we know them; we are going to be pariahs from now on. We are inevitably going to tarnished with the same brush as Putin’s regime.
The Russian military invaded eastern Ukraine on February 24 before capturing the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and advancing on Kyiv.
Anna, who did not want to give her surname, said: “What’s going on in Ukraine is obviously a tragedy and a nightmare. I follow plenty of Ukrainian bloggers and people who normally write about fashion and beauty are not posting.
“None of my friends back in Russia want this war.
“I am devastated for people like me who have built their lives abroad. This is the end of our lives as we know them; we are going to be pariahs from now on. We are inevitably going to tarnished with the same brush as Putin’s regime.”
The marketing manager, who has been in the UK for over 17 years, said she has experienced xenophobia in the past, with people asking her if she was a “spy, if my dad was an oligarch, and where I keep my Novichok”.
“And now it’s going to get much worse, isn’t it? I have no idea how we’ll live, work, bring up bi-cultural children when we are perceived as being complicit in this war.
“I’ve spent many, many years telling my friends and colleagues that Russia was not, despite popular opinion, an evil empire – now what do I say?” she added.
Anna was supposed to visit her mother – Irina, 66 – in Moscow in June this year, but fears she will not be able to as Russia’s civil aviation authority has banned UK flight to and over Russia in retaliation for a British ban on Aeroflot on February 25.
Anna admitted that her mother, who lives alone in the Russian capital, “was more or less in denial yesterday but today the realisation of what’s happening is dawning”.
She said: “I’ve been encouraging her to stop listening to the state propaganda and talk to real people with family and friends in Ukraine.
“It’s very worrying. I can never bring my mum here, and now I don’t know if I’ll be able to visit. I’m an only child, she has hardly any extended family, what’s to happen to her?”
For me, born in USSR, who hoped Russia could be free and democratic, this is a very sad return to the Iron Curtain times. Except now I’ll be on the outside.
She is worried that the continuation of Mr Putin’s advance into Russia would hit regular Russians.
She said: “I think the EU/Nato are hesitating to use armies because this could escalate to world war three, and I respect that.
“I’m not sure Putin cares at all about the economic sanctions; it’s not him or the rich elite who will feel the effect of them, it’s regular people.
“Ukraine is not going to back down, nor should it be sacrificed to appease Putin.
“Ukraine has the right to freedom, it’s sovereignty and it’s territory, all of which it was promised when it gave up its nuclear weapons after the Soviet Union collapsed.
“Realistically, I fear Russia will annex part of Ukraine… and end up cut off from the rest of the world.
“For me, born in USSR, who hoped Russia could be free and democratic, this is a very sad return to the Iron Curtain times. Except now I’ll be on the outside.”
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