Every day seems like you’re in a nightmare that you’re trying to wake up from,’ students say. Russian foreign students studying at post-secondary institutions in Canada are struggling to make ends meet as financial sanctions devastate their country’s economy. At the same time, they are torn as they watch a conflict that they believe is unjust.

Alexandra Troitskaya, a biotechnology student at Fanshawe College in London, Ont., is concerned about her ability to pay her tuition for next year. She is also concerned that her parents, who work for a multinational corporation, may be let off soon.

“My parents financially supported me in Canada with my tuition and all of my basic requirements, but now I’m cut off from their finances, and they’re no longer able to assist me because of the penalties,” she explained.

“It breaks my heart since I can’t just get financial help from my parents, but I can’t even see them.”
Yana Kuzmenko, a Western University graduate, said she was fortunate to remove funds before the Russian ruble crashed.

“The financial position is challenging,” she explained. “It’s quite difficult to transmit money from Russia to other nations, and there are also prohibitions on foreign currency even for ordinary people.”

Sanctions imposed on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine have cut off Russian banks from the rest of the globe. Many university and college students, who rely financially on their family, are unable to access their bank accounts or receive money transfers from relatives back home.
Visa and MasterCard have also declared that their activities in Russia would be suspended. The Russian currency has reached an all-time low as a result of the sanctions and the withdrawal of firms from the nation.

“I left Russia 9 years ago to get away from these types of conditions, and now it seems like you’re in a nightmare that you’re trying to wake up from,” Kuzmenko said.

Families in distress return home
According to Troitskaya, Russia is providing limited information regarding Ukraine’s invasion, and those who protest and speak out against the war are being fined and detained.
“When you start a war from a country that represents so many citizens, I believe we all have the right to speak our thoughts and influence political decisions,” she explained.

For Kuzmenko, Ukraine is more than simply a nation; it is a place where she has friends and relatives who are trapped in a hazardous and uncertain scenario.

“Everyday, I text my Ukrainian friends to check if they’re still alive, and I also have to see if my Russian friends have been jailed or not,” she added.

Ukraine’s Solidarity
Troitskaya and Kuzmenko both fiercely denounce the war, claiming that anyone who supports it does not speak for all Russians.

They also dread receiving abusive remarks and being expelled from communities as a result of their nation of origin’s actions, which they have no control over.

“We are subjected to hatred in some form or another, and some of our friends have abandoned us. I am opposed to war and do not believe this is justifiable in any manner “Kuzmenko explained.

“It’s horrible when you’re pursuing a medical career to save human lives and people in your own country just kill people instead of tackling the problem,” Troitskaya added.

Western and Fanshawe, like other colleges throughout Canada, are offering students affected financial aid to help with tuition, referrals for emergency bursaries, cash for living expenses, and therapy sessions.

“No one deserves to lose their life as a result of a political fight; I support and sympathise with the Ukrainian people. I’m sorry that my nation is treating them this way “Troitskaya stated this.

“Russia is not Putin, Russia is not conflict; we are much more,” Kuzmenko continued. (Original article published by CBC)

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