18.07.2019

Foundation Volunteers: Olga Desbureaux

One of the main goals of the Boris Nemtsov Foundation is to create an international community of people who share ideas about the importance of freedom of speech, the inadmissibility of political repression, and any cases of human rights violations. Right now in this community there are hundreds of people from all over the world: these are journalists, lawyers, researchers, teachers, translators, activists, academics. The most important role in creating a community is played by the volunteers of the foundation. It is thanks to them that our video materials are made available in text format, and the texts can be read in several languages at once. Our volunteers do a lot. Today we meet with Olga Desbureaux, who has been translating interviews, articles and press releases of the Foundation’s events to English for about two years.

About work and favorite business

In the past I used to work for the Government of St. Petersburg (international cooperation in the field of education and science). This caused me an interest in politics, and then – an understanding of the real situation in it: the State apparatus’s methods that were instilled in Soviet times, the lack of movement, the complete stagnation that can be observed from the bottom up to the federal level … Talented initiatives hack at the root, because they do not fit into the accepted format. People are divided into “respected” and no, on the basis of what projects are considered or not. The system requires a powerful reformation, but despite the general sad trend, many competent and talented people work in Government structures. I want to believe that they will lead the country to the progress. Thanks to them, I find my working experience in Russia useful. Now, in France, I do marketing and advertising in the restaurant business.

About home


Three years ago I moved from my native Petersburg to France because of the marriage. During this time I managed to live in several cities of the Cote d’Azur. Now I live in the Rhone-Alpes region, a commune called Tignes. France’s social problems are highly dependent on the region, one of which is the constant increase in taxes, including due to mass migration. Another problem is that migrants in the country socialize poorly due to their rejection by the local population. However, the standard of living in the country is still quite high.

You can improve the world by doing everything to become the best version of yourself

Core values

Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité, as the French say. Last time, I began to feel the importance of preserving my roots. I want to be in a foreign society, remaining a Russian person, accepting and respecting, at the same time, the rules of the chosen country. Many, emigrating, dissolve in the new environment. It seems to me that it is important to preserve your identity and self. The ability to keep this word – about being you – is also an important feature that I demand from myself and the people around me.
What it means to be “Russian” … for me this is a person with a strong will, who is used to overcome many things because of the difficult periods of the country’s development. Europeans are more relaxed in this regard, they are accustomed to feeling support from the government, which gives confidence in the “tomorrow”. We are always ready for the worst.

About volunteering

The desire to become a volunteer was due to respect for the figure of Boris Efimovich Nemtsov, his civic position, the struggle for the ideas of democracy and freedom for Russia. His example will always inspire and make you move forward, without giving up in the times in which we live and which are still ahead of us. The fact that he was founded by his daughter, Zhanna Borisovna, also became an important moment.

About the world

It is difficult to speak for the whole world, but, probably, there was critically little live communication around, gathering with friends not for selfies and fashionable locations, but to acquire personal memories. Which will remain in sensations and memory, not in instagram.

About freedom

For me, this is the number one value. It all starts with it. But not from the freedom that permits permissiveness, but from the one that allows you to be independent of the opinions of others, influence and social status. Such freedom entails a high degree of responsibility and courage to defend the right to its truth.

I believe in the absolute justice of our world, despite the tragic events

About justice

My favorite literary character is Howard Rork from the book «The Fountainhead» by Ayn Rand. This is a talented architect, whose opinion is contrary to the canons and dogmas adopted in society. He rejects high fees, recognition and success in the name of the idea, and he eventually achieves everything without betraying his ideals for a minute. I believe in the absolute justice of our world, despite the tragic events. Everything happens exactly as it should. The passage of time ultimately gives us the opportunity to verify this.

About the world improving

You can improve the world by doing everything to become the best version of yourself. Develop your talents, follow the dream and inspire people around you. One of the best examples for me is Boris Nemtsov, a vivid example of a man who tried to make part of our world, our homeland better. I am sure that in the end he will succeed in this through his comrades-in-arms, associates and all those whom he and his ideas continue to inspire.

Favorite quote

There are a great many of them, but today I read from my beloved Brodsky: “One thing must be the baptism of the nation, and the cross to bear is quite another”