Russian in Slovakia: It is hard for people to admit Putin acts like Hitler

It might take years before I see my family in Russia and Ukraine, says Russian native and Bratislava inhabitant.

Presidential Palace lit up in solidarity with Ukraine. Presidential Palace lit up in solidarity with Ukraine. (Source: FB Office of the President)

When people hear his accent, they tend to stop and talk to him. Denis Korolkov is originally from Russia and nowadays works in a bar in Bratislava's Petržalka district. His customers often ask him about life on the banks of the Black Sea, on which stands his native city of Sochi.

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Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine shortly after the Olympic games in Beijing. In 2014, Russian soldiers occupied Crimea shortly after the Sochi Olympics.

"Customers aged 50 and over tell me how everything works well in Russia, that Putin is a cool guy and that American President Joe Biden is the bad guy," Korolkov said. He feels like those who defend Putin tend to talk to him more.

They do not ask his opinion. They just want to talk and nostalgically recall the Soviet Union, says Korolkov. These customers do not realise that as a Russian, he may not agree with Putin.

"He is guilty," said Korolkov about the Russian president and his invasion of Ukraine. "I'm against the war, I condemn it."

A Russian woman living in Bratislava feels like she needs to be more cautious since the invasion started. Although she has lived in Slovakia with her parents for 17 years now, she is changing her habits.

"I have had people look at me in different ways when I spoke Russian," she said. "I really think twice on whether to use Russian while walking my dog, while talking on the phone with my family. I have family in Ukraine, too, and we typically speak Russian with each other."

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