Almost a year ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces invaded Ukraine. Veniamin remembers February 24, 2022, like it was yesterday.
“It was a big shock. The worst thing that could happen had happened. I was paralyzed.”
The 28-year-old says he never thought war could break out despite increasing political tensions and repression. After that morning, when he woke up to videos of Russian missile attacks shared on group chats, nothing was the same.
Just like his classmate Alexander, another later date would also change Veniamin’s life forever: September 21, 2022. That was the day Russia declared its partial military mobilization.
We are having Turkish tea in a shopping mall in downtown Istanbul with Veniamin and Alexander. The two young men studied political science…