EDITOR’S NOTE: Most Americans take freedom for granted. Igor Prohorov does not. He was born and spent his childhood in a country that suffered under one of the most tyrannical regimes in modern history. His experiences, and those of his family, make his message that much more poignant.
I was born in small port-city of Kerch, Ukraine in 1986. Although I was only 11-years-old when I immigrated to U.S. with my family, I can still remember all the chaos that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union. Gangs ruled the streets; people were selling their own children at the Bazaars to get some money to buy food and pay rent. There was corruption all around, to put it simply.
Although these were tough times, the real tyranny was during the Soviet era. As many of you know, Stalin was a ruthless leader, a murderer who is responsible for more Russians deaths than even Hitler.
One of the people to suffer during Stalin’s regime was my step-grandfather. He was generous enough to sit down with me and tell his story, but was hesitant to go into many details. Alex (he refused to give out his last name), was one of the millions of people that were picked up on a random sweep by the security forces (KGB), and sent to Siberia to work in the Gulags. He was never given a reason for why he was arrested, and ended up serving a couple of years in the slave camps.
These camps were a big secret in our country for many years, until a famous writer and a former Gulag prisoner, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, came out in public and wrote multiple books about it. One of the most famous books by Solzhenitsyn is Gulag Archipelago. This book was my mom’s favorite. She was a librarian, but was only allowed to have books that were approved by the state. And of course, this book was banned. She had to literally risk her life to obtain and hide this book in her home.
These are just a few examples of how our liberties perish under an all powerful state.
We live in the greatest country on earth, and our citizens are truly blessed to have the opportunity to practice their religion, to speak out about an issue of their concern, to petition the government, to bear arms, and most importantly, to have a right to due process under the law and the right to a fair trial.
Our Founding Fathers clearly understood the evils of big government, and the importance of civil liberties and privacy. They risked everything, including their very lives, to fight for freedom and justice. They gave us the greatest document of all time – the U.S. Constitution. The Constitution was written specifically to LIMIT the power of the Federal Government and not allow this country to become like Europe.
Over the past few years, I have seen our liberties slowly fade away. Our government is now allowed to read our mail (and e-mail), to check our financial transactions, to spy on us without a warrant and/or probable cause, and even assassinate U.S. citizens without a trial. Recently, much attention has been focused on a proposed NDAA bill, which would allow the military to detain Americans indefinitely, just like the Soviet Union did to my step-grandfather. Moreover, we have had laws on the books for decades allowing the government to have almost unlimited power in an event of a national emergency.
What is it going to take for American people to wake up and understand that tyranny has no borders, that it can spill over to our nation, and imprison our minds and our citizens? Russian people were way too apathetic and were scared to speak out against tyranny before it was too late, and look how many millions of people perished.
Will the American people finally stand up and say NO to big government and take back our country, restore our civil liberties, and our Constitution?
Time will tell…
Igor Prohorov is a young, independent and energetic Ukrainian immigrant who has seen with his own eyes the dangers of big government and the consequences that follow it. He has been spreading the message of liberty and limited government and has kept a close eye on those who don’t care for it. Contact Igor at firstname.lastname@example.org.