Russia: If a country’s strength is its people, then Russia might be in trouble as, because of its invasion of Ukraine, the country is witnessing the largest exodus since the October Revolution of 1917. According to the official statistics published by Russia’s internal security service, nearly 4 million Russians left the country in the first three months of 2022.
“How to leave Russia?” It is a phrase that is being searched on Google and set a record of a 10-year high inside the country within just a week of the invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, says CNN.
Various analyses of searches, data and immigration figures clearly shed a light on the fact that people do not want to live in Vladimir Putin’s Russia and are looking for ways to flee the country amid the political crackdown at home.
With the war, Russia has been hit by severe Wester sanctions that cause incredible inflation, a crashing currency, and uncertain imports and exports.
It is not just an uncertain financial future that is dragging Russia away from the motherland but the increasingly autocratic nature of Russian authorities who have put people behind bars for not going along with their ideology or protesting against its invasion of Ukraine.
Moreover, President Vladimir Putin also called traitors to the people who do not support him and speaking out against the war. As per the report given by the monitoring site OVD-info, more than 75,000 people have so far been detained at anti-war protests across the country.
Russians are facing severe violations of their human rights in the countries as they feel the country is occupied by a dictator who forced them to live under a huge threat.
The entire situation made a lot of Russians to be concerned with their future, their career, and safety. People are fearing to live in the situation of the country’s tumbling economy and authoritarian policy of the government.
Political persecution also becomes one of the reasons why Russians are trying to escape. Additionally, they also do not believe the situation inside the country will improve with the huge violation of human rights and a forcible ban on speaking something against the government.
For the new Russian diaspora, there is of course nothing like that desperation. But there are challenges and trauma of a different sort. There is also a sea change in terms of what these people feel they can say about the country they left. As they arrived in Turkey, imagining their next steps, Russians spoke of Putin and the war in ways that would be almost unimaginable in their native country.
So, the Russians have decided to migrate to other countries such as Georgia or Armenia. Georgia alone expects to receive more than 100,000 refugees from Russia, and Armenia has reported a similar figure. However, due to the torn image of the country across the globe, the countrymen are facing territorial or entry restrictions.
Various countries such as the UK, US, EU, and Canada have closed their airspace to Russian flights so they are heading for countries where flights are still permitted and where visas are not required, such as Turkey, Central Asia, and the South Caucasus. Russians are facing political repression, forced military service, and closed borders. Although despite clearing their stand, being bullied because of their nationality.
In order to secure themselves, people seek asylum in the countries like the US, the UK, and Europe every year by showing proof that the person is out of any kind of past persecution or will not have fear of future persecution.
But in the case of Russians, the world has created a hole of isolation around them. They are seeking humanitarian assistance from the other countries and ironically are getting huge rejections as most of the asylums declined to give shelters to the Russians due to their country’s going to war with Ukraine.
Human rights are not violated in their native country but in the places where are expecting secure and free life. Due to the numerous sanctions imposed on the country, Russians faced revocations of visa-free travel.
With a near-complete shutdown of European airspace for all flights inbound and outbound from Russia, people who are fleeing the country are left with no choice of escaping which leads them to live in a suffocating environment that is near to death.
Russians are facing an extremely worst situation which could be witnessed in their words of them. Russian citizens named Oleinikova outlined the entire situation and cited that this is really difficult for them to survive as their native place has become a threat to their living beings and other countries are putting restrictions on them.
“Fear of closed borders, political repression, and forced military service is in our DNA. I remember my grandmother telling me stories about the state of fear they lived in during Stalin’s time, and now we are experiencing it. We don’t support our governments, which is obvious because we ran away. We want to be safe here,” said Kristina. “But we are being bullied just because of our nationality, I need to hide my country of origin, I don’t feel comfortable when people ask me where I am from.”
He stated that this is a great injustice to their human rights as they don’t ask Putin to initiate war. What is their fault for being citizens of the country which becomes the reason for the destruction? Oleinikova emphasized that they just want to live happily and peacefully.
A way out for Russians:
Russian oligarchs sanctioned by the Western governments are flocking to the countries to get economic citizenship. In this worst situation, countries that offer economic citizenship come out as the perfect way out for the Russians. Various countries across the globe are offering alternative citizenship to the people of Russia so that they could also lead peaceful life. Through citizenship, people could have access to numerous other countries where they can live their life without any threat.
Artuz who was also a citizen of Russia showed his disappointment over the restrictions put on them by the world. He stated that this is totally unethical and against their human rights and urged for the grant of economic citizenship.
He asserted, “Sanctions imposed by the European countries and the U.S triggered them to look for alternative options like Citizenship by Investment Programme.”
The CBI programme offered by various countries stood out as a viable option with its geographical location and benefits of visa-free travel to numerous countries as well as their neutral stand between Russia and Ukraine.”
Artuz emphasized that one of the main reasons for Russians to pick the “Citizenship by Investment Programme,” is that they want security and safety for their families where the future is not uncertain. In the countries, they could start thei new life with open routes to the global market.
Artuz asserted that the countries could carry out their robust due diligence and background checks of the last 10-year records. He said that they are ready to go through any kind of ground investigation of their legitimate money. “Economic citizenship is the last option for us to start a new and free life and we are agreed to go through any level of checking but just granted us the alternative citizenship,” he added.
The Russia-Ukraine war is a political drama, but common people from both countries become unnecessarily victims of this drama. The war has created devastation of lives and poses a great threat to human rights. It should be an alarming situation worldwide that life still matters on the earth.