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Tales From the Motherland: Mr. Tyshchenko Discusses Life Before NP3

Tyshchenko(left) and Peacock(right) pose together.

Jakob Franco
The Pacific Times | Co-editor

Maxim Tyshchenko began his life in the United States at the age of 22 with minimal English skills or idea of what was to come. He worked assisting a plumber and even washing dishes at a fast food joint to get by. Almost 20 years later, he now teaches mathematics at NP3 High.

On March 26 and 27 he met with a group of seniors to discuss his life in Russia and perspective now as an American citizen. The AP Comparative Government class studies six countries around the world including the Russian Federation.

The Comparative Government teacher Jonathan Peacock said he felt bringing in Tyshchenko would provide a valuable opportunity to students to hear a first hand perspective from a citizen of one of the studied countries.

“There is only so much you can get from a textbook, get a deeper more meaningful understanding this way,” said Peacock.

Tyshchenko began the meeting by briefly describing his experiences growing up and presented multiple photos documenting this growth. Born in 1978, Tyshchenko lived under both communist rule in the Soviet Union and the newly democratic Russian Federation after the union dissolved in 1991.

Tyshchenko addressed the rigidity of life in the Soviet Union with his grandfather having to join the Communist Party in order to better himself in society. However, he also spoke of the disarray left in the wake of the Union’s collapse with corruption running rampant through the country.

After Tyshchenko finished the biographical portion of the meeting, the floor was opened up for student questions about any more specific experiences of his or opinions on current Russian politics.

The conversation naturally steered to the current Russian president Vladimir Putin as students just learned about his tenure in their Comparative Government class as well as his name frequently gracing news headlines. Tyshchenko expressing concern over his increasingly authoritarian nature, but recognizing the widespread support Putin still retains throughout the country.

Tyshchenko still has a large number of relatives and friends in Russia and explained he travels there roughly once every two years to reconnect with them. He immediately pointed to his separated family when asked what he missed most about living in Russia

Mikayla Penman was one of the students there to listen to Tyshchenko and ask questions. She said of the experience, “It was really fascinating, his perspective was so much more informative and interesting.”

The brief discussion provided students with both an opportunity to interact with the curriculum in a more engaging manner as well as hear the interesting insights of a typically quite reserved man.

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