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franklin county times

Sometimes history comes alive

By Staff
Melissa Cason
This week I spent some time with a visitor from Russia, and I found her views of our country and hers quite fascinating.
Yulia Pozhar, fiancee of Van Pinion from Phil Campbell, was born and raised in Russia. Her daughter was school-aged when the Cold War ended and the country opened its borders.
Yulia remembers life under communist rule and told me that while her country struggled with democracy at first, it was something that Russia had to endure in order to be free.
She said that the biggest change for the Russian people was their ability to travel to any destination freely.
Yulia said that before the borders opened up, they could only visit countries under socialist rule, and visiting America was unheard of back then.
Now, the Russian people have embraced our culture by embracing our movies and other American products that have made their way to the country.
As a child, I remember seeing reports about Russia after the collapse of communism rule. I remember feeling sorry for the people because there was little to eat, and times were very difficult.
I remember people saying that maybe democracy isn't for everyone, even though it is the foundation of our own country.
After talking to Yulia, I have come to realize that democracy is for everyone, and that when a country struggles it's because every country struggles when they first gain their independence – sort of like a baby having to crawl before it can walk.
Our country struggled. The only difference is that we weren't here to see it. Yulia lived through her country's struggles, and that makes her lucky. She will never take her freedoms for granted like many of us Americans do everyday. She knows what it is like to live under communist rule and she knows the way freedom feels now.
I would like to send a special thank you to Van and Yulia, who should return to Russia today.
Thank you for spending a few hours with me to share your experiences.
It is not everyday that you get to meet someone who witnessed a historical moment with his or her own eyes instead of through a television screen.

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