St Petersburg...before the sad day of 24th February 2022...

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February 26th 2022
Published: May 1st 2022
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There are blogs that are easier to write than others. This is definitively one of the toughest I had to write in years. There will be a total of 3 blogs about our stay in Russia from early February to the day we left at the end of the first week of March. The world in early January 2022 was so different than it is today, and yes I could witness all of it from the inside, bear in mind the comfortable side of the inside if you compare with those in Ukraine. Sad is the right word, scared too can apply.

This trip was not a holiday, but a family and friends visit with the aim to pack as much culture as we could every day. During the 5 weeks in Russia, bear in mind my Russian is more than basic, I have not witnessed a single bad look or bad comments from a single person. I'm sad, but Russians are scared. I have family and friends in Russia, and I do not intend to be in jail for years during my next visit. So yes we can speak privately, and yes you should follow the international news. Was I aware of the situation while in the country. Yes, we had access to Facebook and all international news websites till the last few days, and yes I had access to CNN and BBC while staying in few hotels during the trip. So yes, being aware of the situation, from any point of view, is feasible in Russia if you do speak English and can be a little creative. Now if you ask people to express themselves freely publicly, this is not an option anymore sadly.

Culture will prevail! Well, it doesn't work very well lately and sadly for the moment it's a complete failure of humanity. We spent the first three weeks in Russia before that horrible Thursday. So each day it was more culture, more great food and more family and friends. In order to stay on the safe side for people I love, you will not see great pictures of amazing people! Imagine what this blog would have been like if nothing had happened that Thursday. St Petersburg is one of the most amazing city in the world. One that I shall call home from now on and in the future. One where people are welcoming, where culture leads the where you can enjoy great food at every corner...and now, we all only wonder of what is coming next....

I'm still sharing with people from the other side nearly everyday. Can't figure out how the face of St Peterburg or Moscow has and are going to change over the coming few weeks. Imagine, we were supposed to take the longest train ride from Vladivostok to Moscow in the coming few days. Instead, this week, even my Embassy is following the orders and evacuating all diplomats before the 3rd of May. Sad days...

When is it going to be over? When will humanity prevail again? When will those millions of people be able to go back home and rebuilt their homes, their lives....Europe celebrated the Fall of the Berlin Wall in a day in 1989...I was at school, in Europe in front of the today, gone are years of peace, of understanding and reaching to each others. Yes, in 1989, we would all thank Gorbachev for his vision and somehow is bring peace, freedom and prosperity to millions on both today...again this time, it's not coming from the people, but from above...and's just horrible...

I'm sad, safe today, but scared with so many...

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1st May 2022

It is a sad day...
Thanks for sharing your personal experience. You stated "One that I shall call home from now on and in the future." I thought you would live in South Africa for the rest of your life! Anyway, Back in 1998 I had business in up nuclear waste in the Kola Peninsula. I worked with the Russian (and Norwegian) military, some who had previously worked at Chernobyl to contain the radiation. Everyone was so hospitable. A lieutenant colonel and his wife took me on a tour of the Kremlin on our day off. I just hope you are correct that culture and civilization will prevail.

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