Ivan joined the protests Alexey Navalny (The Russian opposition leader is now imprisoned in a Siberian prison). He did not do this as a member of the party, but only as a citizen who could no longer support the institutionalized corruption of the country, which crystallized in a so-called electoral fraud for Vladimir Putin to win. He was placed on the police’s “prevention of extremism” lists.. Later, strangers blackmailed him. They wanted a huge sum from him or they would pull him out of the closet and publicly say he was gay in a country where a kiss on the main square could get you 5 years in jail or beaten up by some ultras. . Or both. He also came to Valencia with an international conservation program in 2019.
Alona was a teacher at a school in Moscow. Putin government until 2012 passed a law “for the propaganda of unconventional relations”. teaching non-heterosexual relationships between children could be punishable by fines and jail time. Later this law became general censorship. When they found out that Alona was bisexual, they fired her from her job and put her on the government list. She couldn’t find a job at another school. “First I got threatening calls from the kids’ parents accusing me of brainwashing them. Then there were more violent anonymous calls that showed my home address and everything.” She also fled Russia, but only in 2014.
Putin’s announcement to mobilize civilian population causes mass abandonment of citizens Those who cross the land borders as much as they can to avoid being drafted in a new great migration movement. But this is not Russia’s first major diaspora. Since 2012, human rights in the country have been eroding by leaps and bounds. This year has seen the largest protests against the government, resulting in a law that does not allow citizens to hold more than two demonstrations in 6 months with a five-year prison sentence. from the start occupation of Ukraine Another law was passed in February banning the publication of “false news and rumors”. about the Russian special military operation for the war that has caused many major media outlets to exile their journalists to neighboring countries.
“If you go out to protest, nothing will happen to you, you can spend two days in the barracks, or they can file a lawsuit against you and ask for 10 years in prison. Especially if you are a feminist or a political dissident. it’s a lotteryPolice repression is getting tougher like lgtbiphobia. The law says you can’t talk about homosexuality in a positive way. And if you do, they’ll fine you and it’s like they put a badge on your chest, you brand yourself publicly and it’s nearly impossible to get a job. It’s like you’re not part of society,” says Iván.
“The first refugees started arriving in Valencia around 2013”, explains Alonacurrently works as a translator for associations specializing in international protection and has also done so for the immigration police. “There were very few people back then, especially LGBTIs and some political dissidents. Most of the arrivals were due to lgtbiphobia. and the number remained stable until February 2022. When the war begins, many more are coming, especially journalists in exile, and now we expect a wave of asylum seekers in a few weeks,” says the translator.
“My student visa is running out and I can’t go back”
Ana completed her two-year master’s degree at the university. University of Valencia (UV). He lived in Moscow, but wants to make his life in Valencia with his partner (also Russian). The law gives him a one-year job search, that was his plan. However, he was recently denied immigration. “Now I can’t go back to Russia, neither can my partner because they’re going to hire him.“, Explain.
“I know my parents are somewhere I can always turn to, but my mom already told me to stay here And we’re not coming, the situation is very difficult,” says Ana. She explains that right now there is a huge drug shortage in the country and it is almost impossible to raise our voices in the street. If the situation was already difficult, then returning to the country now is even less advisable as it is engaged in a declared war. .
Ana’s case is one of thousands that will be repeated in the months to come.unforeseen circumstances that, on paper, give him the right to seek international protection in Spain, as international law prohibits the extradition of a person to a country at war.
Jaume Durá, lawyer and international protection expert for the Spanish Refugee Commission, said:These persons have the right to seek asylum at an authorized police station.. But they have to justify why their lives are in danger.” For example, the campaign to enlist all citizens serves to justify that Ana’s partner cannot be sent back to the country.
“The same thing happens for the Ukrainians who were here when the war broke out. When they got to Spain there was no problem, but suddenly they needed protection,” explains Durá.
Lack of appointments for main, asylum or immigration offices Makes it very difficult for him to regulate his situation in Spain. The system has been stuck for foreigners for months, especially in the city of Valencia.
He may be an expected figure in the diaspora of Russian citizens next week. Angelina Ferrandis, head of the Immigration department of the Bar Association (ICAV), explains that the mass desertion of Russian citizens has not yet been noticed in Valencia, but they hope to notice it. “We now see that They flee on foot to countries with which they share a border, such as Lithuania or Finland.but they haven’t come here yet,” he says.
Paco Solans, president of the foreign lawyers association, says the problem right now is visas and the cancellation of flights from Russia to almost all of Europe, so for Ferrandis “It is possible to open a new migration route to countries like Turkey.and once there, citizens can try to get the necessary visas to go there,” he says.
The climate in Russia at the moment, at least from Ana’s family, is completely unbreathable.. “I told them that neither my mother nor my sister should go out to protest in any way. It is now de facto prohibited,” says this graduate student.
Right now, as Ana explains, most Russian men hit wall at land border most of the countries they come from. “In Georgia, for example, we see them handing out questionnaires to incoming Russians. They ask what they think about the occupation or whether they are in favor of Putin annexing Ukrainian territory,” says María.
This is because, according to this refugee, “these same countries have already experienced and feared what it was like to be colonized by Russia It will happen again now that many Russians are trying to enter these areas,” he said.
In fact, María continues, “that’s how the war started in countries like Georgia or Ukraine, when Russian forces entered with tourist visas and without badges, so it’s reasonable to think that people in those countries were afraid. Feminist activist, especially Kremlin-controlled television channels later in Lithuania and Georgia.” It could be if he keeps saying he’s going to the UK,” he says.
María and Ana are hopeful in the conflict with Ukraine. “I hope Ukraine wins and confidence in Putin is shaken.. “It’s happening right now, that’s all that’s left to remove him from power,” he says.