Area residents speak out on Russia

MARIETTA – As tensions continue to rise with the Russia military’s presence in Ukraine and, most notably, Crimea, local Russian expatriates are voicing their opinions.

“Russian troops have been in Ukraine for a long time and this is just politics,” said Andrei Nadtoka, a Marietta resident raised in Russia.

Earlier this week, U.S. President Barack Obama ordered the first sanctions in response to Russia’s military takeover of Crimea. Obama asserted a hastily scheduled referendum on Crimea seceding from Ukraine to become part of Russia would violate international law.

Nadtoka moved to Marietta more than a decade ago when his mother, Marianna Tiedemann, married local resident Dennis Tiedemann in 2001 and moved her family.

“These are two different countries with many different cultures, which makes people not see eye-to-eye,” said Tiedemann, a trained nurse practitioner and esthetician while in Russia, who now works at Lee’s Studio on Murdoch Avenue as an esthetician. She is from Taganrog, Russia.

In line with the difference in cultures, during Skype chats with her mother, Alla Kozerova, in Russia and cousin Michael Kozerova, in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, Tiedemann learned both had opposite opinions.

“My mother doesn’t want to see American troops come into Ukraine or Russia and doesn’t want any military action, but my cousin, who lives in Kiev, said the military in the city hasn’t impacted their lives,” Tiedemann said. “Me, I just don’t want to see war; I don’t want to see people lose loved ones just because one group wants to leave their country.”

Nadtoka said the fact many in Russia and Ukraine do not want to see the West involved in the situation should be a sign to United Nations and American leaders.

“The view of the people is going against the United States because, the way Russian people view it, America’s political influence has taken a little issue and made it something it isn’t,” he said. “It is an internal revolution and it makes no sense it has gotten this international attention.”

Nadtoka likened the Russia/Crimea situation to the recent upheaval in Egypt.

“Western radicals in Ukraine are trying to take power,” he said. “Similar to Egypt when the Muslim Brotherhood tried to take power.

“Eastern and Southern Ukraine want to remain how they are while the Southeast part of the country, including Crimea, wants to be a part of Russia and the tension has grown as politicians have gotten involved,” Nadtoka said.

For the time being, Russian forces are expected to move back to their Crimea base while the Russia and Ukraine governments hold talks with international monitors.

Along with Obama’s sanctions of visa restrictions on Russian and other opponents of the Ukraine government, the European Union has also imposed sanctions, including suspended talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government on an economic agreement and allowing Russian citizens visa-free travel within the 28-nation-block, which is a long-standing Russian objective.

“I think politics are creating more problems and let what happens between Russia and Ukraine be decided by the people and not the politicians,” said Tiedemann.