My mother Irina Gurova, a Ukrainian, was a professor of Russian language and literature to foreign students attending the Kiev Medical and Technical Institute in the USSR. My father Ricardo Mego was a foreign student from Peru who had been offered a generous overseas scholarship to the Institute to study engineering. There existed an enormous stigma against native USSR citizens marrying foreigners, and this unspoken law was brutally enforced by the secret police known as the KGB. My mother’s friends who had married foreigners would be visited by the KGB at random hours of the night, terrorized and beaten within inches of their lives. My parents’ relationship had to remain a secret, and they were only married once the USSR had fallen apart, and the KGB was no longer around. This document was a beacon of hope for my parents, the land of opportunity separated from them by a vast, impenetrable sea. This paper signified an end to their persecution, and a place where they could be free. I was born in the United States after my parents immigrated with my older brother Andrey and my older sister Mariya, but their struggles have not fallen on deaf ears. My parents struggle and endurance in the face of dangerous and threatening circumstances to keep our family together has truly spurred me to take advantage of the opportunities I have that they risked life and limb for. They have kindled in me a burning desire to do great things with my life.
– Vladislav Mego