Simultaneously, two interesting events unfolded: the “main part” of the tourist season started in Kyrgyzstan, and in Russia, the authorities announced a policy of “retaining” valuable personnel from relocating abroad. One can mock the extent to which the previous initiatives succeeded for the Kremlin and how far they fell from the expected “points of achieving desired results.” Alternatively, one can simply go during the peak beach season to the world’s largest high-altitude seaside and engage in hiking with constant encounters with tourists from various countries, witnessing firsthand the various discoveries about how interesting and beneficial it can be to live in this world.
Despite the busyness in the tourism industry, I found the time to have a video chat on messenger with a person for whom “retaining” became attractive even before the statements of the talking heads—since the very moment when IT specialists who “agreed to give up remote work” were substantially offered higher salaries. My interviewee, Pavel, upon learning about the “clarification of data” from the military enlistment office, traveled to Kazakhstan, where he lived for several months but then returned to Moscow.
– Pavel, I looked into the sad eyes of some relocations sitting in hostels in major cities of Central Asia and felt a certain melancholy. It seems that if you approach such a person with offers of a “decent income,” they would “reject everything and rush back.” Among the residents were active and ambitious individuals, but they were mostly transit travelers aiming to go to countries they consider civilized. So, I focused on topics closer to me, such as tourism organization and history, and found interesting characters who didn’t give the impression that they were “born in the wrong place.” Did the atmosphere in hostels like that influence your decision to return?
– It’s a combination. I got used to home cooking, and leaving the family behind is tough.
– For me, the family aspect was more of a challenge. It’s clear that by “taking a backpack and taking off,” you can literally go anywhere and live anywhere. But having a family requires greater involvement in the social fabric of what surrounds you. However, substantial results are achieved when the goals are worthy.
– We had a salary increase at the same time, and my family started to be more demanding, and it became noticeable that people in my circle are not easily swayed by these fronts.
– By the way, speaking of fronts—didn’t you have a full-fledged “Ukrainian childhood” despite being from the Volga region? Did you ever feel that you couldn’t adapt to the regime that was wreaking havoc in the lands you are familiar with? Literally—people you knew before could “fall victim.” Isn’t that an additional motivation for emigration?
– There is certainly a certain disillusionment. But I’m not sure if, understanding the stakes, they should ignore the nominal opportunities provided by the Kremlin.
– So, the entire political system, including mass street movements, should have constantly considered “what will they think of each of our next actions over there”? That’s how a real attempt to make others “become our people” looks like! “Exercise self-censorship, or else we won’t take responsibility for ourselves.” But it doesn’t sound threatening anymore on the Dnieper, does it?
– Unlike people who “isolate themselves from the agenda” through consumption and jokes—there are plenty of them in our profession—I still try to develop a certain position on how the world around me is organized. But this position also involves a realistic assessment: “If you can’t fundamentally influence what’s happening, engage in something more useful.”
– Did you borrow this perspective on what’s happening to some extent from your father, who worked in influential companies in not-so-insignificant positions?
– It’s not easy for me to evaluate myself. In both my parents’ family and within myself, I’m used to the following situation: there are many people around who imagine that they are “special.” But you actually have significant resources. And you haven’t made any efforts other than using your abilities.
– And when you go abroad, does that feeling disappear?
– It may arise, but you’ll have to rebuild it anew. Or it may not arise at all.
– I have a feeling that every day you have to build the world anew. That’s probably why I enjoy working with tourist groups—they’re always new. As for abilities and dedication, when I was nineteen, I approached my academic advisor and said, “I’d like to study Czechoslovakia, social movements, the year 1968.” He responded, “Nationalism and its formation are more relevant now, right from the beginning.” Well, the boss is always right. One called me to the barrier, the other chose the weapon.
Power is about money too, but not only money. “You can’t influence it” is no longer the case. The question is not to pose in between efforts. I found society more interesting that doesn’t constantly look “up” and ask, “What will this authority say?” but still shows interest. And of course, the mountains. We live on cliffs, walk above ravines, and if we move, it’s to the mountains. The plain is synonymous with boredom.