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How Ordeals Became Opportunities


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I was born and lived in the beautiful city, St. Petersburg, Russia. I have firsthand experience living under a communist regime. In the 1980s, Communist party leader, Michael Gorbachev, started a political movement, called ''perestroika, '' meaning ''restructuring.'' He called for reformations within the communist party and economic system. Those reforms brought chaos into the country by shaking and changing established laws and policies. During this time of the Communist empire collapsing, Russia plunged into a period of unprecedented crime never seen in its history. Explosions and gunshots were part of life. Bandits organized into gangs. They forced every business owner to pay a portion of their income, they controlled different parts of the city, and they knew where businesses were located. Criminals abducted and tortured disobedient entrepreneurs or the members of their families. If that did not convey the lesson, they would kill. My husband and I were business owners. During that violent period, I, along with my husband and daughter, fled to Canada. After four agonizing years of uncertainty, we were granted conventional refugee status. The duration of the immigration process and the hardship of settling in a new country took its toll on our marriage, to the point where my husband and I divorced. I came to Canada, a country unknown in my former way of life, and had to learn all the methods of business conduct and government policies. Despite these obstacles, I managed to educate myself in college and establish a successful business. It was all taken away from me, due to police actions. The most dramatic example of this is my being targeted by the police, counselled to commit murder and then trapped. Prompted by an uninvestigated and nonsensical denunciation, police officers took advantage of my overwhelmed mental state during a period of unbearable duress in my life. They orchestrated an opportunity for me to commit a crime which I would never have considered under less extreme circumstances.

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