At the age of 15, Elina Mariutsa bought a one-way ticket out of Moscow and never looked back, leaving behind her home, her parents, and Paris, her Yorkshire terrier.
It was 2013 and Greece was crumbling under the pressure of the refugee crisis. Mariutsa couldn’t bear to continue to sit back and watch it unfold on television. She spent six months in Chalkidiki, a processing site for refugees and migrants, volunteering for various nonprofit organizations.
There, she says she found herself disenchanted by the laissez-faire attitude of some government officials to address the crisis, so she started plotting her next move. But, as she wanted to continue helping where she could, returning to Moscow was not an option.