Novaya Gazeta Journalist Threatened With Expulsion To Uzbekistan

In the morning of March 17 Moscow police detained uzbek journalist Khudoberdi Nurmatov. He has been working as a correspondent with the Novaya Gazeta, and is now threatened with extradition to Uzbekistan, where he could be tortured.

In journalism, Nurmatov is also known as pseudonym Ali Feruz.  The chief of the Novaya Gazeta investigatory department, Olga Bobrova, writes, “Khudoberdi is Ali’s name by passport but it’s the name which makes one’s life in Moscow difficult. Therefore, he has been working under pseudonym in journalism”.

Migrants Still Try To Make It From Russia To Norway

Two groups of people aimed for Scandinavia, but were stopped by the FSB.

Two Iranian citizens were on 26th February detained in Nikel, the Russian border town, ahead of an alleged illegal border-crossing to Norway. According to Interfax, the migrants had with them snowshoes, a tent, warm clothes and other items for harsh winter survival. The Iranians were forced by the FSB to buy air tickets back to Moscow and then return to Iran, the news agency writes.

Russian Court Saves North Korean Defector From Deportation

A court in Russia’s Leningrad region dismissed the case against Choi Myung-bok, a North Korean defector set to be deported for violating migration laws, the Memorial human rights group reported Monday. Choi no longer faces deportation to North Korea, where he would most likely be executed for fleeing the labor camp he was sent to. He plans to apply for official refugee status once again.

Choi, 54, lives in a small town in the Leningrad region with his Russian partner and their two children. In 1999, North Korean authorities sent him to a labor camp in the Russian Far Eastern Amur region, which he fled in 2002.

Pilot Stops Flight to Allow Deported Refugees to Remain in Russia

A Russian pilot is reported to have stopped a scheduled flight to allow two Yemeni refugees in the process of being deported to leave the plane.

One of the two asylum seekers was contacted by refugee charity Civil Assistance as they boarded the plane at St. Petersburg’s Pulkovo airport, the Deutsche Welle news outlet reported Thursday.

A translator for the group told the cabin crew via telephone that the men wanted to leave the plane and would be in danger in their native country.

“Our translator told the stewardess there was real danger waiting for these men in Yemen,” Civic Assistance employee Yelena Burtin told Deutsche Welle. “She reported it to the pilot.

Why Syrian Refugees Don’t Go to Russia

Noginsk, a Russian provincial town about 40 miles from Moscow, is widely known as a place where the first monument to Lenin was established. It is also traditionally known by its industries, especially textile production. Recently, however, the town has become known as the place with the largest group of Syrian refugees in Russia.

Mohammad Al-Fallah, 32, came to Noginsk from Aleppo in 2013. He came to Noginsk, as many others did, to avoid war and with the hope of finding a home and peace.

For Russia’s Labor Migrants, a Life on the Edge

In slum settlements on the outskirts of Moscow, foreign workers are adjusting to the realities of Russia’s economic crisis.

Not so long ago, the migrant population of Chelobityevo in northern Moscow lived in fear of the police. These were times when uniformed officers would descend on the village unannounced, beating and arresting undocumented workers in their path.

Chechen Asylum Seekers Stranded in Belarus

Chechen asylum seekers say they are stranded in ‘Europe’s last dictatorship’ and are turned away at Polish border.

Brest, Belarus –  At noon each day, the small, echoing arrivals hall of the Soviet-era train station in the Belarusian city of Brest is lined with people waiting to meet relatives who have been turned away from the border with Poland.

“We do not know if they made it, ” says an elderly Chechen woman waiting with her daughter as she watches the wooden arrivals doors. Like many others at the train station, her family has been divided as some members have attempted to cross into Poland.

Of the hundreds who attempt the crossing each day, only one or two families are typically permitted to enter.

How Syrian Refugees In A Small Russian City Made It To School

Knowledge Day falls on Sept. 1 and marks the traditional start of the school year in Russia. But for the children of Syrian refugees who live in Noginsk, a town of about 100, 000 inhabitants that’s a 90-minute train ride from Moscow, it’s a day like any other.

These refugee children can’t go to a regular Russian school because they aren’t officially registered. Instead they go to a makeshift school in a shabby building where attendance is voluntary.

Russia: Failing to do Fair Share to Help Syrian Refugees

Russia’s contribution to meeting the needs of refugees displaced by the Syrian conflict has been negligible, while its military involvement in the conflict has been significant. Russia should use the upcoming summit meetings on the global refugee crisis to make commitments to share responsibility for refugees in line with its capacity.

The United Nations Refugee and Migration Summit will be held on September 19, 2016, followed by a Leaders’ Summit on the Global Refugee Crisis the next day. Russia should also address serious shortcomings in its asylum system that are preventing most Syrian asylum seekers who have made it to Russian territory from receiving the protection they are entitled to under international law.

Fleeing Chechen Refugees Reported Trapped on Polish Border

As many as a several hundred Chechens fleeing the regime of Ramzan Kadyrov are reported to be trapped on the Polish border in Belarus. Belsat TV, a Belarusian opposition channel based in Warsaw, reported that some refugees had been camping “for months” after being refused entry to the country.

Poland’s Interior Minister Mariusz Błaszczak has already announced that Warsaw has no intention of accepting the refugees. “There is no war in Chechnya, unlike some years ago, ” he said. Błaszczak called the situation “an attempt to open another route for the influx of Muslims to Europe, ” and claimed “as long as I am interior minister and as long as Law and Justice [Poland’s ruling party] is in power, we will not put Poland in danger of terrorism.”

Poland’s nationalist government has pursued an anti-refugee policy since coming to power in November last year and has faced accusations of xenophobia.

Norway to Build Border Fence with Russia to Keep Out Refugees

Norway is building a steel fence at its arctic border with Russia after an influx of thousands of refugees last year.

The new fence, which will be around 660 feet long and 11 feet high, will stretch from the Skorskog border point, sources in the Norwegian government told Reuters. Construction of the fence is due to finish before winter frosts set in, making it harder to enter Norway through the forest.

Russian Rights Activist: People are Afraid to Deal with a ‘Foreign Agent’

Since Russia’s oldest charity organization dealing with refugee and migrant issues was labeled a “foreign agent, ” it has lost the backing of all state services but has gained the support of ordinary people, says head of the Civic Assistance Committee Svetlana Gannushkina.

Compared with many other countries of the world, Russia receives a relatively small number of refugees (people from Syria and Africa prefer to seek asylum mainly in neighboring countries and in Europe). Yet refugees do come to Russia too and perhaps the only organization that deals with their problems for real is the Civic Assistance NGO.

However the Civic Assistance Committee has come up against numerous problems in its operations since April 2015, when it was entered on the list of NGOs performing the functions of “foreign agents” under controversial amendments to the law “On non-commercial organizations, ” passed by the Russian State Duma in 2012.

The label applies to those NGOs that are engaged in “political activity” in Russia and receive “funds and other assets from foreign states, international and foreign organizations, foreign nationals and persons without citizenship.”

Svetlana Gannushkina, head of the Civic Assistance Committee and one of Russia’s leading human rights activists, sat down with RBTH to discuss the situation facing the organization.

RBTH: Has the attitude to the Civic Assistance Committee changed since you were labeled as a “foreign agent”?