Looking For the American Dream. In Russia.

By Peter Savodnik in The Free Press: It was probably January 2023 when Joseph Rose, a 49-year-old YouTuber from Tallahassee, Florida, realized God had sent him to Moscow.

“I do think it was God leading me to where I needed to be right now,” Rose told me over the phone. He was in his apartment, with recessed lighting and a sauna and an odd pirate theme, outside the center of the Russian capital. “I would say that Russia is becoming a bastion of Christianity and that America is becoming the opposite of this.” 

He added: “I was put in a spot where I could be used.”

He was alluding to his YouTube channel, which had made him something of a celebrity in Russia. “People recognize me on the street all the time.”

When people ask him what it’s like living in Russia, Rose said, “I often say it feels like our positive vision of 1950s America.”

Rose resides at the nexus of a growing movement of Americans chasing the American dream. In Russia.

Bernd Ratsch, 56, who moved to Moscow from Texas in 2019. “How can the United States get that feeling back of being normal?” he said. “To me, from what I see, it’s just about too late.”

I spoke to twenty American expats, all men, who have moved to Russia over the past four years. They told me they moved to Moscow or St. Petersburg or the wild east—Siberia—because they no longer believed the one person they once thought could save America—Donald Trump—could still save it. America, they felt, was beyond saving now.

“Is Trump better than Biden?” Bernd Ratsch, 56, who moved to Moscow from Texas in 2019, said. “Of course. But do I want him? Would I vote for him again? No. It’s just, ‘Boy, shut your mouth for a while.’ ”

Rose and Ratsch and the other Americans flocking to Russia told me they did so to save their children and their children’s children.

“I wouldn’t seriously consider starting a family in the U.S. today,” Peter Frohwein told me. Frohwein is 62, and he is divorced with no kids. He had been a computer engineer in Atlanta, and in July 2023, he moved to Yalta, in the Crimea. “The U.S. is a political mess,” he went on. “Socially, things are a mess. Spiritually, things are a mess.”

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