"Former Soviet Union is a term that often makes people think of a somehow original concept of freedom and democracy. You can observe some heritage looking at the facts of today's Belarus and Turkmenistan. Anyway, even there, people always have had the will to express their ideas and opinions. Think, for instance, of the samizdat, or of the dissidents. How could native geeks and computer scientists/engineers miss the opportunity to contribute to the free software movement as another expression of freedom and democracy? In this article, hopefully the first of a short series, I will try to outline the rise and growth of free software in the former USSR by interviewing some of the key individuals."