Liudmila Alekseeva: "It’s a shame if decent, intelligent people are leaving Russia"

posted 19 Nov 2017, 07:52 by Website Service   [ updated 19 Nov 2017, 07:58 ]

8 November 2017 

Extract from an interview with Liudmila Alekseeva, chair of the Moscow Helsinki Group

Source: Moscow Helsinki Group [original source:

[...] So let’s talk about that meeting of the Human Rights Council. The journalist Stanislav Kucher [...] told Putin that around 20 of his friends aged between 20 and 35 decided to leave Russia. These are young academics, entrepreneurs, cultural figures... Do you know how they’re getting on abroad?

I don’t know exactly how they’re getting on, but I know that our academics and scientists who went to America (where I reluctantly lived for a long time and where I still have many acquaintances and even friends) from Russia and the USSR are doing excellent work there. Russian brains are greatly appreciated in America.

That’s the scientists and academics, what about the cultural figures?

It’s difficult in America for the cultural figures, the musicians, the choreographers, the dancers and so on because everything is in a different language. They need to know the language really well and feel at home with it, and that is very difficult.

The president said that Russians have started coming back from America, in part because of the difference in mentality. Is that the information you have?

I have no such information, but I’m one of the ones who came back. I came back even though I was doing okay there both financially and in terms of recognition.

I mean it doesn’t even compare... I had a three-storey house there, for example, and I wasn’t selling anything to anyone, I was just doing my own thing.

I’m not complaining about my life here, of course, I have an apartment on the Arbat. But it’s impossible to compare an apartment in a block with your own large house.

My life was great in America, the people there were friendly to me and I to them, but as soon as they started letting people back into Russia I came back straight away and I haven’t regretted it for a second.

And the Americans didn’t use you for political purposes? I’m thinking of the three-storey house compared to an apartment in a block and...

Aghhh! How exactly could I be used, I wonder? I’m not someone who can be pushed around easily! I have never met anyone who could use me.

That’s just how things are there, and everyone had these three-storey houses. Do you think I was so rich in America? No. They’re simply better off than us...

Anyway, everyone’s different. There are people who are ‘citizens of the world’ by nature and there are people like me...

I didn’t come back for financial reasons or because things weren’t working out for me there, everything was going very well for me in America, but I want to live at home.

I love my country and its people. Americans have got it good, but we also have work for our much-loved young people here – no end of it!

You know, it pains me to see people leaving, because our country really needs these people. All the bad ones can go, but I think it’s a shame if  decent, intelligent people are leaving Russia!

Having said that, I think everyone should live wherever they want. If someone wants to live in America, then let them live in America; if they want to live here, then let them live here.

Life is so short and it would be great if everyone could live it exactly as they pleased. That is my wish for everyone. […]

Translated by Nicky Brown