“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
I remember the moment when the country I was born in ceased to exist. A 7-year-old Soviet kid, I clearly recall the unusual heaviness of the air, my parents' eyes full of both fear and excitement, and a feeling that something impossible and life-changing was about to happen.

The changes came indeed: starting from a Barbie and MTV in my room to opportunities to travel to, and even study in, places which before had seemed so out of reach. It felt as if we were growing up together, my country and I, going through the same periods of hungry and curious childhood, fun and disturbed teenage years, precious and daring youth...

But with the rising thrill and desire for more and better also came hard questions: Is there a price to pay? Is there anyone left behind? What is right and wrong? What is fair and good? When they existed, the answers were more painful than promising.

I will go back to Russia, a country whose birth I saw and which I deeply love. I will work for dinosaur state-controlled companies, and use everything I have learned to set an example, to show that business can be done differently: transparently, ethically, with fair rewards for hard work. Better. And to make people feel excited about Russia again.


— Olga Sokolova