My Russian classmates and their opinions about Vladimir Putin
A short story to sum up what they really think of him.
“He’s not human. He sold his soul to the devil”
These were the words that came out of Mikhail's mouth about Putin. Who is Mikhail? He was my Russian classmate.
I met Mikhail, Ekaterina, Aleksei, Ludmilla, and Natasha fifteen years ago. All are from Russia and have migrated to Finland. We met in our language class; we were all learning Finnish. We had to study the Finnish language to at least pass the intermediate language exam to gain recognition of our qualifications (pediatric doctor, nurse, architect, civil engineer, real estate agent, and analyst) to obtain employment in the country.
Before I go on with this story, I am deeply saddened by the war in Ukraine. The war's injustices, killings, and destructions are very disturbing, and there is no denying Putin's atrocious, brutal, and barbaric acts of war on Ukraine and its people.
After hearing that Finland has finally closed its borders to Russia, I felt relieved. Although tourism purposes are no longer allowed entry to the country, family visits, studies, research, and work will still gain entry to Finland, which brings me back to why I am writing this story.
Exactly 15 years ago, I moved to Finland to live. I studied the language intensively for a year. That was when I met at least five Russian students in the language course. They were migrants like me. I have never met any Russian nationals before, so I was excited to get to know them and curious to learn about their culture and tradition.
There we were, a group of nationalities from different parts of the world learning the Finnish language. During recess, we would chat about our countries of origin, jobs, families, and the many challenges of living in Finland and learning the Finnish language.
One day, in class, our topic was Vladimir Putin, and I expressed my thoughts on how weirdly interesting a character and strange the man is.
The teacher then asked each of us, "if we could be granted one wish now, what would it be?"