A beginning of a tale. Working title.

In 2008, my family had ”made it”. Between me and my parents, we owned a mean collection of exotic cars. However, wealth is only part of the story in Russia. Since the austerity of Soviet times, the highest mark of success is owning something nobody else can have. So, when I bought my dad the ultimate “must-have” status symbol in Russia - a Lexus 4WD, I had to spend almost double the price of a new car to make sure that we got it before everyone else. The extra money went to pay the ridiculous premium for one of the first cars to leave the US factory, shipping it by plane to Moscow and getting it cleared through customs all in the space of one week. It was worth it, though, as it took more than six months for this model to hit the Russian dealerships, and for those six months, my dad was the coolest guy in town.

Little did I know that I would use this car to:

1. Bring my stuff out of Russia after fleeing to save my life.

2. Smuggle my father over the Moldovan border to save him from harm.

3. Facilitate my escape to Berlin after I learned my dad had been shot eight times in the middle of London.

4. Allow me to check in with UK police every two weeks for four years as a condition of my asylum seeker application.

5. Pick up my dad from the weekend in Wandsworth prison infirmary after his extradition hearing.

6. Escape UK and EU COVID lockdowns to get to a film project in Ukraine.

7. Sneak me and my friends out of Ukraine as the war started.

The loyal Lexus 4WD was always there during this journey, the reliable friend, the omnipresent observer, the impassive witness to the many struggles. From Moscow to Moldova, from London to Ukraine, this story is about a 4-time refugee who can't return to his country and keeps getting forced out of the places he wants to call home. It is also a story of a father and son's relationship over a span of a decade and how it developed under duress of harder and harder challenges.

Over the course of the following few months, I am going to tell this "fully fictional" story on the pages of this publication. All names, characters, businesses, events and incidents are, of course, products of my imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental. Or not. You will have to decide for yourself. I trust you to know the truth when you see it.

Make sure to subscribe, and Godspeed.

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