I was brought up in Sverdlovsk/Yekaterinburg in the Soviet Union. After graduation from Ural state medical school, I worked pharmaceutical marketing. I actively promoted evidence-based medicine in Yekaterinburg, delivering classes on biostatistics and clinical research. For many years I was an activist with an anti-government youth organisation. Facing criminal charges during the all-national wave of political persecutions before 3rd Putin's re-election, I left Russia in 2011 and obtained political refugee status in the UK. The North East Refugee Council and other refugee medical professionals helped me to integrate. After volunteering for the British Red Cross, I enrolled in a foundation programme as a junior doctor in Scotland in 2015.