Life, Love, Death & Disability in Russia

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Life, Love, Death & Disability in Russia

January 5, 2022 Oksana Smith

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Translated by John Freedman

Artist and actor Oksana Smith lived in Moscow, Russia, with her parents, until they succumbed to COVID. Following is her story of the intersections between disability — she has significant cerebral palsy — illness, death and, ultimately, freedom in a nation that refuses to fully acknowledge any of these things.

When my father fell ill, I did not understand the full consequences at first. I called for him from my room again and again. He sat in the kitchen and muttered endlessly, as though engaged in conversations with those no longer of this world. He could not get up from his chair. It was late at night, and I did not know yet that my [...]

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