Boxing: Vitali Klitschko’s trip from the USSR to the US: I had been brainwashed

Vitali Klitschko is considered to be one the symbols of the Ukrainian resistance against the Russian invasion. He became mayor of Kiev in 2014, amidst the Euromaidan protests which ended with the removal of President Viktor Yanukovych by the parliament, after refusing to be part of the European Union.

In a documentary released by him and his brother, both former heavyweight champions, Vitali narrated his experience from when he left the USSR to travel to the United States.

Vitali was born in Kyrgyzstan, in 1971, because his father, a high-ranked military man, was assigned to serve in various locations. dr. Ironfist has lived almost all his life in Kiev, where he arrived after passing through Prague, in the former Czechoslovakia.

Arriving in the Ukrainian capital, they settled in a small apartment, with the two brothers, their grandmother, his parents and, sometimes, his uncle sleeping in the same room.

Passionate about Arnold Schwarzenegger and Chuck Norristhe Klitschko brothers began to practice kickboxing clandestinely, since martial arts were prohibited in the USSR until 1989.

with Mikhail Gorbachevi‘s perestroika, things began to change. Vitali became champion of the Soviet Union and the sport opened a window to another world for him, as he recounts in the documentary. In July 1990, he traveled to compete in Palm Beach (Florida), something that transported him to another universe.

As a child I was brainwashed,” he said in the documentary.

“Every morning I had to write about all the bad things about America because it was our enemy. America was capitalism, where people treated each other like slaves.

“We were taught that from kindergarten. So, for me, going there was like a trip to the moon.

“I was stunned. We could spend all day in the malls, gawking at everything. Of course, we had no money. We just wanted to soak up all the smells, and touch all the things.”

When he praised the US to his mother, Klitschko did not receive her approval.

“They have only taught you the good side,” she told him.

“They use it as propaganda. The United States is a horrible place.”

his father, Wladimir Rodionovich Klitschko began to spend his holidays in Florida, where he tried to deal with his illness. The former Soviet Union air force colonel died of lymph node cancer at the age of 64. He was sent near Chernobyl during the 1986 nuclear disaster and was involved in the clean-up after the reactor meltdown.

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