Emigrating to America from “Soviet Russia”
was like going to live on a distant planet.
But one fine day, those who ruled Russia decided to stage an unusual experiment: They allowed several hundred “Soviet citizens” to emigrate from the “Soviet paradise.”
Naturally, we were highly suspicious.
We might have just as easily expressed a desire to leave the country only to find ourselves and our families on a bus headed straight for the Committee of State Security!
Such things happened before.
The year was 1971, and by that time we were already aware of the fact that about a dozen “Soviet people” had already emigrated and were living abroad.
Nevertheless, we wanted to play it safe so we telephoned one of the first Soviet émigrés who was already living abroad to find out if the dream was real. He reassured us: he is abroad, and he is alive and happy!
Those in charge of the emigration service had a lengthy conversation with us. Our intentions were quite sincere. We just wanted simply and quietly to emigrate, something that had previously been denied to Soviet citizens. “But why do you want to emigrate? What displeased you?”
They wanted us to answer that question.
“That’s not the point,” I said. “You see, my wife and I devoted our lives to the study of the English language. Our son also is studying it. We, as well as my mother, would love to live for a while in an English-speaking country.”
I added that the Soviet powers that be “gave us everything!” But they simply could not recreate for us an England or America!
State Security found it plausible and useful that for such people like us the experience of living in an English-speaking country will broaden “our horizon,” as they put it, as well as our knowledge of those countries.
This year marks 40 years since the Soviet regime (unbeknownst to itself) treated us so generously!
As a young man, my wife and I fell in love with English-speaking countries, which to us were incarnations of freedom. Nothing creates a more passionate love of freedom than living in a free country.
Incidentally, it is not just freedom that evokes a newcomer’s love. We admired English literature, including its poetry.
Like some other Russians, we could not live without poetry.
Emigration is like a “second life.” As Soviet “Russian subjects” we had never before spent a day in a foreign country. Now we were living this second life, a translated novel of life.
It’s been four decades since my wife and I cracked open the second volume of our lives.
As for today’s Russia — the country we left behind — life there seems to be improving. In Stalin’s time, there could be only one hell, and that was our life under him. Stalin died in 1953,when I was 25 years of age. But Stalin certainly taught us all how to love and appreciate freedom — and long for it.
Some nations do not know this love, and their countries are ready to descend into hell — if they are not in hell already.
Many nations have been living without freedom for millennia. Here, freedom is not just one of the possible alternatives, but it is as valuable as life itself. As a prisoner sings in a Russian folk song:
Give me my freedom,
Take off the chains,
I will teach you
How freedom is to be loved.
We dread to think that the freedom in this unique country we came to love so much is constantly challenged and endangered by President Obama’s foreign policies —in particular by his close friendship with the communist Chinese dictators, to whom he panders by giving them access to American secret military bases.
They are trying to disarm our beloved country by buying and/or stealing America’s latest military technology to increase their own military might.
The Chinese slave owners understand that the very existence of free democratic countries — and the strong United States in particular — is the greatest threat to their dictatorship.
Lev Navrozov can be reached at email@example.com.
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