In the last few weeks, Russia has once again been making headlines – and not in a good way. As a charity we cannot comment on politics - it isn’t our place. Our work is focused on helping orphanage leavers in crisis via their local community, not lobbying for political change. This said, we do want to address the negativity by encouraging you to see the real people of Russia.
Two of our staff have lived in Russia and all of us have visited Russia multiple times whilst working for LR. During our trips we have been part of ordinary life in Russia and met ordinary people who, like us, have nothing to do with politics or decisions made by the leaders of their country. Rather than the cold Russians portrayed in the media and entertainment industry, Russian people are some of the most generous and hospitable people we’ve ever met!
Practically every Russian has a sofa bed and extra indoor shoes to accommodate guests! There is always a pot of tea ready when you arrive at a flat, no matter whether the hosts can afford this or not. Being an open and welcoming household is massively important to people in Russia. Something we see every time we visit as we always come home a few pounds heavier from all the food that we have had prepared for us!
Far from being distant and cold to each other, we have seen time and time again that Russians want to connect with others and help people in their communities. Giving your phone number to someone you have just met is not seen as weird because if you have met once you are likely to cultivate a friendship! People we meet in Russia are so supportive of the work our partners in Russia are doing and are quick to ask if there is any way they can help with projects too. Russians may have less disposable income so can’t donate money to worthy causes but they are more than willing to give their time. Over the past week we have highlighted some of the ordinary Russians we have met on our trips and how they are helping in their local communities.
Our friends in Russia are just ordinary people like you and I, nothing like the unfriendly and untrusting “Russians” we see in the media.
Most importantly, the desperately needy and vulnerable people we work with in Russia are at the other end of the spectrum to world politics. Decisions that are made by world leaders deeply affect them yet they have no influence on these decisions. Whatever world leaders choose to do, we must never ignore people in need of help. So please, Ignore the Politics, but See the People.