My professor of constitutional law at the university said in his first lecture: “If things with birth, death and emigration will not change for better, Ukraine as a nation will cease to exist by the year 2040.” That was in 1992. I left the country in 1997. Many of my friends have left around that time. And those who stayed are planning to leave in the nearest future. To Poland, Czech Republic, Canada, wherever as long as it’s away from Ukraine. There are still people who don’t plan on leaving. Those have a little more than thirty years to change their mind.
A friend said to me: “I don’t know about Ukraine, but Russia will certainly fall apart by then.” I’m not that into Russian politics, so I don’t know what he meant exactly. It’s just somehow my mind enjoys painting various scenarios of what could happen. Disappearance of Ukraine doesn’t seem disturbing at all, but Russia is a different story. Fort Kaliningrad. When Russia falls apart, no one will care about Kaliningrad. They will ask Germany to take them back. Oh no, wait, Kaliningrad doesn’t even share a border with Germany! Tuva gets independence and doesn’t know what to do with it. Before they know, they’re a part of China. Will they even notice? Whoever gets to keep a piece of Siberian forests will have to get as much profit from it as possible. Let’s throw away the Kyoto Protocol already now. It’s cheaper. How wild will Far East get? If there are still people living on the East coasts of Russia, they’ll be in trouble. They already think they live on an island. I wonder how fast they’ll reach America. And don’t forget – there are 140 million people living in Russia at the moment. When Russia starts to fall apart a considerable part of the population will emigrate. This will be the end of Europe as we know it. Well, we still have about thirty years to enjoy it. I think I’ll go dancing tomorrow.
The Hague from my window (three years ago)
Timeline: May 1991 – I go to the USA for a two-week school exchange. We had to fly from Moscow, because there were no flights to America from Kiev yet. Most children in the group have never been to Moscow before. I found it difficult to imagine. Strangely enough, I had no cultural shock during our stay. It was a small town near Baltimore, I can’t remember the name. I’d felt no discomfort at all. Several children were discussing the possibilities of escaping from the group and staying in America. I though it was such a stupid idea, I didn’t even argue.