Our family left USSR and came to America and we never looked back. It all happened after the fall of USSR, when Crimea became a part of Ukraine. Right as it happened there was a lot of unrest and political turmoil. The population at that time was about 95% Russians and wanted to either be an independent country or become a part of Russia. The though of being a part of Ukraine, learning a new language and the uncertainty of the conflict loomed over our family.
The military stepped in and put an end to the uprising before it escalated into a full out war. I was 9 years old and I didn't really understand the ramifications of what was happening, but my father did. He foresaw the path the country was heading towards and decided that he didn't want to have his children's future be compromised by it.
We immigrated to the states in 1999 with a Green Card and 3 suitcases. My dad immediately tried to find any job he could and worked as a pizza delivery guy and a construction worker for years. No one cared that he had a PhD and 2 Masters' Degrees, or that he had an exceptional career in the military over the 25 years and was going to become a General in the army right before we left. He left it all behind and here in the states none of this mattered anyway. If he had health and hands he could find work.
It was an incredibly tough jorney for our family, but our relatives and friends, who stayed behind, are so happy for us and this difficult choice we made and wished they've done the same. We stay in touch and went back to visit them in Crimea a number of times.
On a lighter note, here is a photo of my brother and I strolling through in our city park in Crimea before any of this happened: