From the heart of a cultural refugee from the western world who lives in Russia.
Katehon recently ran an article about the Russian Federation possibly offering to open it’s gates to cultural refugees from the western world. I decided that I should author a piece about this subject – because I am in fact myself a cultural refugee from the western world who lives in Russia, myself.
To be clear I consider myself a cultural refugee, not an expat. An Expat is a person who leaves a country and resides in another country not as a citizen but as a guest. A cultural refugee is a person who enters a country to become part of its culture because his origin culture is diseased. I work my best to assimilate to Russian cultural norms, and given my Slavic origins it is not particularly difficult. As my ancestors dreamed about leaving Europe for a better life in the USA, I dreamt about leaving the USA for a better life in Europe.
My first few visits back to Europe were – well, enjoyable, but they did not quite “fit” me. I had seen Denmark, Sweden, France, Holland, and Switzerland, which while all were quite nice – a variety of factors led me to visit Russia next. When I got on my first plane to Russia, I didn’t know what to expect, as my Russian-Polish ancestors who left there so long ago never had much good to say about it, though I grew up with my grandmother drinking Stolichnaya (during the cold war!) and her cooking borscht and pelmeni. I grew up wearing Topachki (similar to slippers, but a lot of people, myself included use sandals – mine are Adidas, of course). It was during my first visit to Moscow that I really felt a strong sense of “home”, and knew that Russia was the country for me . . .