A Note on Ukraine From Sergey's Desk

Those who know me well know that I am a fairly private individual when it comes to my personal life. The latest happenings in the world inspired me, for the first time, to make my thoughts public.

I've lived in the United States for well over two decades. My daughter was born and raised in the United States. I was educated in the United States. My closest friends are in the United States. The United States is my home.

I've embraced the culture, the way of living, and the way of doing business, with high level of integrity, social equality, and the spirit of inclusion. I don't believe in guns (never owned one, never will), force, or intimidation.

When I meet a person, I see a person. It doesn't matter if that person is White, Black, Hispanic, Asian, American Native, of mixed descent, male, female, transsexual, straight, gay, religious, non-religious...the list goes on.

The government of Russia does not feel the same way. Discrimination, lack of social equality, corruption, and a culture of exclusion based on a variety of factors and criteria still run rampant. Sadly, not much has changed since I left the country in the 1990s.

As a company (that I own), I would like to assure you that whether you are Russian, Ukrainian, or any other nationality, living in one of the communities we have the privilege of working with, we will uphold the highest level of service.

As an individual, I would like to say that I denounce the recent acts of war that Putin authorized against Ukraine. I fully support the sanctions against those plotting the criminal attacks against another country. I fully support additional sanctions and actions to stop the acts of terrorism that are continuing to unfold.

You are "Russian" if you are born in Russia. That stigma seems to follow you forever. I am a citizen of the United States. I believe I had an option to change my name when I was going through the naturalization process but I chose to keep the [Russian] name my parents gave me. I love my parents. They, too, are in the United States. I gave my daughter a Russian name when she was born in Anchorage, Alaska. I hope the stigma doesn't follow her.

I have formally renounced my Russian Citizenship in 2014. It turned out to be an incredibly complicated process that took several years, a small fortune of dollars, and countless hours of filling out forms, requesting archived documents from Russia going back to when I was born, and calling a plethora of Russian bureaucrats that were less than helpful.

I am proud to call the United States my home. I am proud to no longer be a citizen of a country that willingly starts a war on a neighbor.

I like to travel and have been to many places around the world. Due to my [Russian] name, I've been "questioned" at many border crossings. In Europe, in Latin America, in Asia, in Canada, on my way back home at the United States border. I've learned to carry that piece of paper that says I am no longer a citizen of Russia every time I go somewhere. I don't mind needing to remember to bring it because I know the agents at the border are just doing their jobs protecting their respective countries and I will continue carrying it every time I travel internationally.

In closing...

To the government of Russia - STOP THE INVASION!

To the people in Russia - I am truly sorry you are a part of this massacre.

To the government of Ukraine - KEEP IT UP!

To the people in Ukraine - nearly every country in the world is behind you. This will end in your favor!

To the Russians, Ukrainians, and everyone else living in the United States - PLEASE STOP the violence that is starting to break out on the basis of "I am Russian, I am Ukrainian, I am ..."

Violence is never the answer, especially not in the 21st century.

And the screenshot of the doc that crosses me off the list of being a Citizen of Russia is pasted below (because nobody wants to believe fake news):