SF's 'Little Russia' businesses experiencing waves of the war 6,000 miles away from Ukraine

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Friday, March 18, 2022
SF's 'Little Russia' businesses feeling major impact of the war
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As the war in Ukraine continues, business owners in San Francisco's "Little Russia" neighborhood are affected by the conflict.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- More than 6,000 miles from Ukraine, Alex Miretsky is feeling the waves of the war all the way in San Francisco.

"Some Americans call. Some angry people and they say something like 'are you proud to be Russian now?' Or 'get all the Russian products off the shelves'," said Miretsky.

His store "Europa Plus" is a safe haven for East Europeans in the Bay Area, but since the war, it's also become a target for some people who are demanding that Russian products should be taken off the shelves.

"One was complaining about Saint Petersburg products. Another one was asking me if I'm proud to be Russian. I explained that I don't feel like I'm Russian," said Miretsky and added, "I'm a Jew who emigrated from Russia in 1987. I left Russia but I was raised in Ukraine for the first five years of my life."

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He walked us through his store and showed us the diversity in his products. Ironically, Ukraine and Russian sweets are next to each other. They've always been.

"It was not an issue at all. It was all in the same region. The same people. The families are interconnected and people live in both places like I did," said Miretsky.

Two blocks down from "Europa Plus" is "Moscow & Tbilisi" Bakery. They are being asked to remove the word "Russian" from their advertising.

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Turns out, the owner is from Georgia. Regardless of the name, several employees said the flag on the front window is clear. They support Ukraine.

"Business men who open business for example 20 years ago. They are not in charge. They move to the country and according to the Russian propaganda is the main enemy, America. If they live in the enemy state, how can they be representative for Russia right now? It's completely different," said Russian refugee, Daniel Korennoi.

Korennoi supports Ukraine. He fled Russia exactly a week ago in fear for his life.

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"If I stayed there in my city, I would attend meeting, but it's really dangerous because I can be caught easily by the police," said Korennoi.

Miretsky said he doesn't want to stop selling the Russian products at "Europa Plus" because he is buying them from local businesses in Eastern Europe who have nothing to do with the war.

Take a look at the latest updates on the Ukraine-Russia war.