The Situation of Unfreedom

Konstantin Olmezov in n+1:

Konstantin Olmezov, a young Ukrainian mathematician and poet, died by suicide on March 20. He had come to Russia in 2018 to study a branch of mathematics—additive combinatorics—that was not well represented in his home country. He was a student at the elite Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, whose list of alumni includes numerous Nobel Laureates. As his Telegram channel attests, he also wrote poetry on a large number of topics and in a variety of styles, meters, and moods—from moral tales, to ironic allegories, to sincere lyric.

Two days after Russia invaded Ukraine, Olmezov tried to go home but was apprehended by the FSB at a Moscow bus station. He was questioned and detained for fifteen days on trumped-up administrative charges. The experience shook him deeply. Fearing being trapped in a Russia he no longer recognized—and isolated from a Ukraine he couldn’t save—he tragically took his own life…

HELLO. My name is Konstantin Olmezov. As of this writing, I am of sound mind and memory, and if you are reading it, most likely I will never write anything again.

Once, a long time ago, when I was first thinking seriously about that which cannot be named on the Russian internet, I started looking for self-help videos. In one such video, a psychologist says that the main thought that drives almost everyone who intends to do this is: “The world owes me and the world has not lived up to my expectations.” I took this idea to heart and realized that, given the situation at the time, such a position was inappropriate—and the problem was solved. I returned to life relatively quickly.

But now, I think exactly this: “The world owes me and the world has not lived up to my expectations.”

The world should strive to correct errors. And it doesn’t. The world should be comprised of thinking, empathetic, and responsible people. And it isn’t.

More here.