Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Life in the USSR according to a Former Soviet

The following account comes from a Russian woman who emigrated from the USSR 20 years ago and now resides in the USA:

I don’t think you can really call it suffering – not in my case.   My family were not dissidents, not protesting against the regime, we always minded what we said and where so as not to join the ranks of those tortured and killed by KGB.  But there were many who suffered and of course much more so during Stalin’s times – I am sure every family has a person who was abused or killed in KGB prisons or in labor camps. 

But if you look at the country as a whole, it has been cursed – it has the wrong spirit, that of fear, slave-like submission, deception – something you can notice from outside, but get used to when you’re inside.  I suppose, we did suffer from it too, only we didn’t know that – meaning the freedom of speech, human rights, protection by the law.  We never had any of those, we were born without, we knew things were different in the West and that there was better life, but we were never into politics or trying to fight for changing our country. 

And also, only here I came to understand WHY things are differed in the West – it’s because of the Christian values, because there are still people here who love God and so are able to love one another.  It’s not the political system or better economics – it’s the spiritual difference.  Even an atheist could feel it – the way people lived in communist countries – constant fear and slave-like mentality – people in the West LOOK different, they keep their heads high, they have dignity, they can actually smile and laugh and dress up in bright colors.   I don’t know if you understand what I mean. 

Of course, people here are used to good things like protection of human rights, freedom of faith, etc.  But all these democratic values  - where do they come from?  Why are they upheld in the West?  They try to build democracy in Russia too, only it does not work – because people are still slaves in their hearts.  Slaves to the devil even if they don’t realize it.  It’s only because of Christianity where every human being is precious to God, all these rights and freedoms have evolved.  And those who are used to them just take things for granted and think that “peace and plenty are the rule and the right of all sensible folk” (quote from The Lord of the Rings) forgetting about the Guardian who actually holds things together.

I suppose, we can only really appreciate something when we loose it.  Go and live in Russia for some time – not as a tourist with dollars but as a regular person who has to rely on local social, judicial and medical systems where everything is corrupted and stolen to the point that elderly people or orphan kids starve to death.  Then you will come back with much appreciation for Judeo-Christian ethics and values that are still upheld here for now.    And by the way, in totalitarian regime (and this is what Russia still is), any disagreement with the regime is punished, so if Putin decides to forbid atheism tomorrow (which he might – Orthodox Christianity is a very popular trend these days and being an atheist is out of fashion), dear atheists will not even be able to express their opinion openly as they do here.  Because in Russia people are just subjects, not human beings created in the image of God, and human life has no value.  And if we forget God here, this is what we will eventually become – subjects, pawns, trash – expendable. 

Which will be a pity – I mean, this is exactly what me and my family were trying to get away from 20 years ago.  So, where do we go next when this country falls apart?

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