Notes From a Russian American

I had just finished exercising and went to the sauna. The gym I go to is a modern facility with new equipment and is very popular in our city.

My favorite parts are the sauna and the steamer. Both remind me of my old country – Russia. Though, to be politically and geographically correct – I never lived in Russia: I was born and raised in one of the fifteen republics of the former USSR – the republic of Kazakhstan.

So, I am a Russian from Kazakhstan. It’s kind of confusing for Americans, and when twenty-six years ago my American wife brought me here, the customs official gave me an alien card where my nationality was stated not Russian but Kazakh. My friends make fun of me, because Russians and Kazakhs are like apples and oranges. We look different…

In 1992, when I arrived in America, the relationship between the two cold war rivals was excellent: Americans traveled to Russia, opening McDonalds, KFC’s, Burger Kings, and other businesses, and Russians were opening not only their hearts but even the secrets of the overthrown KGB. Millions of Russians and Americans enjoyed such a “romance” between the two most powerful nuclear countries in the world.

Not anymore! Every morning I wake up to the words, “Russia is terrible,” and go to sleep with the humiliating jokes of the “night-show-clowns” about “the dictator” Putin and “barbaric” Russians, whose 13 hackers changed the electoral minds of millions…

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