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  • Writer's pictureMaria Matskevich

"If you don't like something in this country - leave."

"If you don't like something in this country - leave."

One of the most common comebacks by supporters of Russia's current regime, and I suspect in other countries where people choose to voice their opinions on their home leadership. I won't get into all the ridiculousness of this suggestion from the perspective of unfairness or ask why people should have to leave their homes instead of voicing their opinions and having a just democratic system. Instead, let's look at how plausible this suggestion actually is since it fits precisely with the main subject of this project.

A vast majority of the people who want to leave may not have the means to do so.

When a country's minimum wage is $164.60 / month, can unhappy citizens pack up and leave? The ticket to most places they might aspire to live in is probably more expensive. "Well, they can enhance their skills, get promoted, save money, and then leave," I hear some say. Yes, maybe, a person is in charge of his or her life in that sense, sure. But, if the education system is dropping because of corruption, if the entire country only has 2-3 cities where all the money goes, why is this something an individual barely making a living has to put up with and not raise to the attention of the public and the government? Not to mention, the psychological toll an endeavor as big as saving up unthinkable (for some) amounts of money to leave your home might take on a person.

People want to live now, not hope that if they suffer for 5, 10, 15 years, something adequate and better may await them on the other end. Cause it may not.

So, maybe if you propose people leave, you should start a foundation to help them raise money for it? Or work on getting the minimum wage up? But then you'd have to take your advice on not criticizing the government and leave instead... It seems like we have a dilemma.

Why are you under the impression that whichever country they choose to go to is willing to welcome them?

If you look at the previous articles on this blog, you will see real-life examples of how hard it can be to get a job or open a business in Europe with a non-EU passport. These examples are of Europe-educated people who have spent years contributing to the economy of either the country they wish to stay in or to Europe as a whole. If it's this hard for qualified, university-educated professionals, can you even imagine how hard, if not impossible, it is to move to another country for someone with "lower" credentials?

Ideally, every country puts the needs of its citizens first. It will only ever reach out to help others if the majority of voters agree or the human rights abuse in the foreign country is too grave to stand by, and the elected politicians believe it is their moral obligation to intervene. For now, that's the generalization of how it works.

We are not truly united as citizens of the world; often, we still look at political affairs as "us vs. them," not on a global scale.

It's a shame, but it is what it is. Hence, no country will readily welcome foreign citizens who are facing difficulties in their homeland, let alone when they want to leave because they disagree with the current regime. This makes the suggestion to "just leave if you're not happy" not only unfair and immoral but also close to impossible.


Since usually the people who suggest you should "just leave if you're unhappy" are the very same ones who want to close off borders and limit immigration, there's one thing I'd like to say to them. You have to pick one. Either advocate for closed borders and reduced immigration, thereby agreeing not to restrict your own people from voicing their views since borders are closed, and they can't leave as you suggest. Or, become a proponent of open borders and then talk all you want about people leaving their home countries because at least it's become possible. Otherwise, your suggestions are hypocritical and show that you lack awareness of the intricacy of the subjects of which you speak.

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