The main street of Barysh, adeptly called ‘Lenin’ begins amidst a forest. Crossing the city centre it finally merges into the forest once more. Everything here takes place against the backdrop of a dense canvas of trees.

As each year more people leave, the town ages, houses become abandoned. Wild boars, foxes and moose have begun to explore streets and as the forest advances the whole city will soon be theirs.

On my last visit to Barysh, everything reminded me of the violence I experienced. However, on this visit the pain receded and I managed to enjoy the peculiar beauty of the Russian hinterland, which for me was always hidden beneath a veil of painful memories.

Another important part of my visit was to talk to my family about what’s going on in our country right now. I managed to change my family's relationship with propaganda. In moments of crisis such as I’m experiencing, I’m looking for allies, not enemies.

My relationship with my family has never been close and it may turn out that we will not see each other again. Solidarity is important to me at least on this one issue, the rest is secondary.

On a micro level, I have reached a long-awaited peace; the feeling that a big and complex chapter in my life is closed and I can move on without tripping over the past.

Time, like a forest, absorbs the ruins.