Ever since primary school Jess brought an Anastasia DVD from Woolworths, I have been obsessed with Russia. The fallen monarchy, Winter Palace, Russian dolls- even the Rasputin Cossack dance on that wii Just Dance game- I love it all. The problem is, as I’ve grown up, it’s proved quite a hard love to defend: Russia rigged the election, Russian doping scandal, Russia hates gays, whichever part of the internet you go to (unless it’s, like, Putin’s LinkedIn page) there’s at least one article which aligns with Reagan’s ‘Evil Empire’ view.
So this summer when my Russian friend offered me the chance to visit her hometown Izhevsk I was so excited to finally see whether the media was right.
It wasn’t. Now obviously I’m not denying Chechnya’s gay purge or the fact the government’s corrupt- we’ve all seen the Reggie Yates documentaries- but when we talk about Russia we seem to solely focus on demonising it, which is strange considering every country has flaws and when I visited I was amazed by how normal it felt. So here’s why I think we should go easier on the planet’s largest country: Continue reading