In the Soviet era, it was a little easier for Russians fleeing persecution to get protection in America, but there are still many people fleeing Russia because of persecution, and many of them are still able to apply for asylum in the United States.
Russian asylees in the US fled Russia for reasons such as political repression, persecution of ethnic and religious minorities, and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
Russia does have elections, but they are generally considered to be neither free nor fair. People who have spoken out against powerful political or business figures often end up detained and/or persecuted. The prison conditions are terrible, and many people end up dying in them. Free speech is limited, as journalists, activists, and broadcast networks are put under enormous scrutiny by the government if they speak out. The band “Pussy Riot” became internationally famous due to their prosecution for expressing criticism of the state church.
In recent months, the United States has become increasingly critical of how the Russian government restricts the role of and harasses international human rights organizations.
There are widespread reports of societal discrimination in Russia, leading to many Russians fleeing and applying for asylum in the United States.
Women face some significant problems in Russia. Rape is widespread and rarely reported. Domestic violence is very common, and police usually do not report it. Russia is a destination country for sex tourism, and sex trafficking is a huge problem for women. In some parts of the country, honor killings occurred, which is when a family kills a woman due to their belief that she has been immoral and dishonored the family.
Anti-Semitism is a problem in Russia, although it is improving. There are several violent attacks directed at Jews per year. Some Russian Jews face such frequent and extreme anti-Semitism that they have been granted asylum in the US.
Ethnic groups from Central Asia, Roma, dark skinned people, and foreigners often face racism and discrimination in Russia. Violence by skin heads and neo-Nazis is a problem. The government has made significant efforts to combat this, which will be taken into account for any asylum case.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people face significant discrimination. It is common for gay people to be denied medical treatment or police protection from attacks. Moscow has continuously denied a gay pride parade, while allowing rallies that call for the criminalization of homosexuality.
Discrimination is common against people with HIV/AIDS. There is a law against it, but that law is rarely enforced.
Between political persecution by the government and societal discrimination, there are many reasons why someone from Russia would be afraid to return to or remain in the country. If you are Russian and are afraid of being there, New York Human Rights Committee may be able to help you. Call us at +1 (800) 560-1768 today. We are available 24/7.