A former student from Krasnoyarsk Valentin is 19 year old. He was going to become the history teacher and participated in "peace marches" against the war in Ukraine. In January of 2015 Valentin went to the war in Ukraine, has joined the "Azov" volunteer regiment, and the Russian security services have declared him wanted. In May the FSB accused the opposition activists of recruiting nationalists for the struggle in Ukraine.
According to Valentin, at first the actions against the war in Ukraine were accompanied solely by the verbal sparring with the supporters of the self-proclaimed "LNR" and "DNR," but then were involved the gas sprays, and by September of 2014 had began the clashes and fights after the rally. The authorities decided to intervene in the situation, having taken the side of the pro-Russian activists. Valentin understood it after the FSB got interested in his activity. This interest is not limited with the incidents at the rally. In order to avoid the house arrest Valentin immediately departed to Ukraine.
- One nice evening I got a call from the FSB of Krasnoyarsk region. It was Major Novikov who works in the Centre to combat extremism - the so-called Center "E." He told me on the phone: "Valentin, come to us, let's talk, it's something serious. We really do not want to search for you identifying your residence permit or the place of your stay." I did not resist: I was wondering why I deserved such attention. The first thing that I heard at the meeting were the following Major Novikov's words: "We know it was you."
- Do you understand why the choice of Major Novikov did fall on you?
- There are many supporters of Ukraine, but the majority of them are passive. We have spread with the friends Ukrainian flags and posters in the city. The most popular on the Web was the picture of our banner with the inscription "Putin-Huylo" that was hung on the bridge almost in the center of Krasnoyarsk. Although the action was discussed on the Internet for a really long time, there was no any other reaction, and we have started gradually forgetting about it. Then, in January, the vandals (it was not our group) desecrated a monument to the communist warriors. They wrote on it something like "DNR, burn in the fire." This action seemed to be all too quickly forgotten, too, the same as our banner against Putin. But two weeks later happened the first search, then the second was followed by the third. We realized that something went wrong, cleaned our computer and the pages in the social networks. And about a week later occured that call thanks to which I got in the office of an employee of the Center "E."
- Did Major Novikov have the evidence that these two actions have been planned and carried out by you?
- Novikov simply stated that we were responsible for both the banner and the monument. I denied. He asked me to which political organizations I did belong and how did we dare to "desecrate the monument in the year of the 70th anniversary of the Great Victory." I replied that I did not know about that. It seemed that after three hours of my "no," "I do not know," "I hear it for the first time" Major Novikov has become bored of listening to me, and we quietly parted. I thought that forever. But I was wrong. Exactly two days later, Comrade Novikov called me again and said: "Valentin, come visit us at the FSB, we will sign a couple of papers here." Surety letter - I suspect that namely in it consisted his interesting idea, but I did not want to be held hostage by Russia. After the second call from the center "E" I quickly gathered the money, things, said: "Mom, bye!" and left. Three hours after the proposal of Novikov I was hurruying to the airport, on January 27 I was in Kiev, and the next day was already approaching the training base of the "Azov" regiment to which I got owing to my comrade.
- How does your mother react to the fact that her 19-year-old son drops out of school and runs from Russia because of the attitude to the war?
- Mom found out about the FSB only when I packed a backpack. She is an intelligent, educated woman and does not support the rabble of the "DNR." I studied to become a teacher of history. By the way, the choice of the profession and understanding the horror that was going on in Russia in the education system also influenced my outlook. Education in our country, especially when it comes to teaching history, is too closely associated with the state ideology. They want to convince the younger generation that Russia is always right. Fortunately, there has not been appointed yet one single mandatory history textbook in our country. Teachers have the possibility not to communicate to children the views of the Ministry of Education on the historical process. But still it's very hard.
- If the Major of the FSB did not call you, if there were no search and "signing papers," would you go on and organize further pro-Ukrainian actions in Krasnoyarsk?
- Frankly speaking, Comrade Novikov only accelerated my departure to Ukraine. I was already planning to move there, but only in May. In fact, I had a choice: to live the life of a refugee in Ukraine or to go to the war. The solution seemed obvious. The last year and a half the Russian government eventually got completely insane. For people with the adequate attitudes there is nothing to do in Russia. In general, it's harder and harder for sensible people to find the opportunities for self-realization here. Some of them unite, make their leaders various liberal politicians trying to consolidate the opposition. In my opinion, it will not bring the results, but it's better than nothing. Other Russians who think differently than the current government come here, to Ukraine, and try to start the rebirth of Russia with Ukraine.
- Do you think that some radical changes are possible in Russia?
- Maybe, but not under the current regime. First, "the king" must fall, and then we will be able to talk about any changes. Ukrainian people is more educated; here people look at things more realistically. They are in their right mind and have a common sense. The Russians believe everything, and the Ukrainians have learned to distrust their authorities. But I would gladly go back if in Russia suddenly started a riot or a revolution, and provided that I do not have to face a prison sentence. In any case, I will go home only on one condition: if in Ukraine by that time all is fine. All of us are aware of the fact that the problem is not Putin, it is us ourselves. Because it is we who have allowed his regime to establish and strengthen. Perhaps when the refrigerator triumphs over the TV, something will happen in the minds of the majority. In Ukraine, too, things are not as good as we would like it to be. Too much is left of the regime of Yanukovich, reforms happen slowly. But Ukraine has a correct motion vector and a good chance to bring a European future, in contrast to Russia.