Ukrainian stuntman's defiance in Moscow: 'Death before Russian citizenship'
Aleksandr Juszczenko hails from a Ukrainian military family. He works as a stuntman and claims to have no fear of death. Born in Prague, Czech Republic, he spent his childhood in what is now Tajikistan, at his father Walerij's military base.
Post the disintegration of the USSR, his parents separated: his father moved back to Ukraine, while Aleksandr and his mother stayed back. Fleeing the war-torn Tajikistan, they sought refuge in the Russian Federation. However, their years there were marked with harassment and oppression, as they were denied fundamental freedoms and rights.
Aleksandr is now eager to return to Ukraine due to his father's deteriorating health condition. Moreover, he is distraught over the inhumane treatment he and his mother have been subjected to by the Russian authorities for years.
When the family relocated to the Russian Federation, they were forcibly sent to a camp earmarked "for prisoners" in the remote Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District against their will. Filing a lawsuit against the Russian Federation at the European Court of Human Rights triggered further persecution.
Aleksandr was regularly abused, and his mother was barred from working. It was only in 2011, after their fourth appeal, that they were issued temporary identity certificates, which aided their move to Moscow.
But their troubles were far from over. The likelihood of them receiving refugee status documents was very bleak. They were constantly given the runaround. The tide turned when Walerij, Aleksandr's father, managed to locate his family and extended his help.
Just as Aleksandr was on the brink of obtaining a Ukrainian passport, war erupted. Despite the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs permitting the family to enter Latvia using the temporary identity document they held, Aleksandr stresses that the Russians would impede his exit from the country without a Russian passport:
The Russian Migration Service has effectively enslaved us in this country. They want to force me to become a citizen. While I currently live in an apartment in Moscow, I am still treated as less than human here. I am at a loss for my next move since I have neither money nor proper documents — Aleksandr recounts his current predicament.
As to how he will extricate himself from this trap he is ensnared in, remains a mystery to even him.