By Enrique Tessieri
I met Aleksandr Shatravka in 2009 thanks to Migrant Tales after searching for over twenty years for such a person. He was one of twelve former Soviet citizens documented by Amnesty International who was forcibly returned in 1974 to the USSR after being caught by Finnish Border Patrol authorities.
Shatravka sent me by email a video clip documenting that ordeal with his brother Mikhail and two friends, Boris Sivkov and Anatoly Romanchuk.
After they were caught by Finnish Border Guard Antti Leivo they were soon sent back to the Soviet Union, where they ended up at a special psychiatric hospital.
While Shatravka holds no grudges against the Finnish authorities for sending him back, Finland was not during the cold war a place to seek political asylum especially if you were from the Soviet Union.
Aleksander and Irina in Mikkeli in October 2011.
I wrote in February 2010 a feature in Apu magazine about Shatravka. I met him and his second wife, Irina, for the first time in Finland last year.