The smell of plov and freshly prepared kulcha bread wafts improbably throughout the stairwell of an anonymous post-Soviet apartment building east of Warsaw.
Places like Minsk Mazowiecki, a mid-sized town some 40 kilometers outside the Polish capital, have in the past couple of years become home to many families from Tajikistan – like that of Muhamadjon Kabirov. Forced to leave their native land because of mounting political repression, thousands of families are piecing together new lives abroad.
While Poles can be wary of outsiders, Kabirov’s family members say they have experienced no hostility. Quite the contrary, their life in Minsk Mazowiecki is peaceful and humdrum, which is more than they could expect back home.
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Agnieszka Pikulicka-Wilczewska is a freelance journalist covering the post-Soviet space.