“Too many Russians!” My friend says referring to the fact that there are more Russians than he would like in our general area.
Funny statement coming from a guy who is Russian, isn’t it?
My friend, who is indeed from Russia, is in his 70s. I work with him and every day, we take a walk around the parking lot. We discuss everything from politics to social issues (which unfortunately have become political issues), from sports to money and so on.
He has insights that many of us will hopefully never have although I fear we are getting closer and closer to a state similar to the old Soviet Union.
“You have no idea how bad in Russia it is,” he says.
“What do you mean ‘how bad it is’,” I reply. “I thought things have changed in Russia, no?”
“Ha,” he laughs. “What change? Nyet—” he adds then quickly corrects himself as if it is forbidden to speak in his native tongue.
“No change,” he continued. “Only change in name but is still the same.”
“Oh,” I replied, not knowing how else to respond.
What he has taught me is that once tyranny is installed, it becomes part of the fiber and weaves its way in so deep that it’s like a weed that is allowed to flourish in a vegetable garden, eventually snuffing out all other life, it’s like termites that make a home in the wood of a house. The destruction runs so deep that only a full-scale attack has any chance of defeating it.
“The people of Russia will never be free,” he says. “That is why so many come here.”
“Too many Russians,” I say with a smile trying to lighten the moment.
“Da,” he says not bothering to correct himself this time and not smiling at all.