JRL NEWSWATCH: “Speaking Russian in America” – New York Times

File Photo of Russian Food and Nesting Dolls

“I spent half of my childhood in Ukraine … half in Russia before moving to the United States [as] a teenager. … [M]y one, obsessive goal — as a mother raising a child in America with a man who spoke only English — was to teach my son Russian …. such a deep-rooted part of my immigrant identity …. One of [] Putin’s bogus reasons for the invasion was to protect Russian speakers in Ukraine … [M]any Russian speakers — like my family — had felt perfectly safe in their bilingual country. … I thought about the effort and resources I’d expended teaching my son a language [now] being used as an excuse for violence. Borscht file photo adapted from image featured by peacecorps.govI’d entangled him in a mess … he did not have to be a part of. Many people in Ukraine vowed to stop speaking Russian, but that didn’t feel like the right solution for us. … We went to the world map on the wall of his bedroom …. I showed him the outline of Ukraine, with … little cartoons of borscht and onion-domed churches. I said something about tanks, about how terrible war was. He nodded silently. I kept it limited and age-appropriate. … A few months later, I saw my son make a beeline for a Russian-speaking family on the beach …. [who] had recently arrived … from Kherson …. Their son … seemed … traumatized, alternating between staring into space and angry outbursts …. I listened to how the family had survived a brutal six-month Russian occupation and watched my son play in the distance. Let his little brain know about suffering. But not about Russia’s betrayal. Not yet.”

Click here for: “Speaking Russian in America” – New York Times: Sasha Vasilyuk