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Number of Russian Asylum Seekers to U.S. Spikes in Wake of 'Antigay' Law

A Eurasianet partner post from RFE/RL

WASHINGTON -- U.S. asylum applications from Russian nationals have jumped 15 percent for the second straight year, a rise that asylum seekers and attorneys attribute to Russians fleeing their homeland due to fears of persecution and antigay violence. 

The United States received 969 new asylum applications from Russian nationals in the 2014 fiscal year ending September 30, up from 837 the previous year and a 34 percent increase compared to 2012, according U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) statistics obtained by RFE/RL. 

The U.S. government does not disclose the basis of the petitioners’ asylum claims. But applicants and immigration attorneys said the rise is almost certainly linked to an exodus of Russian gays following President Vladimir Putin's signing of a law banning "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relationships" last year and violent guerrilla attacks by antigay groups in Russia. 

The loosely worded law was portrayed by Putin and other Russian officials as aimed at protecting children and encouraging Russia’s birthrate, while Western governments and rights groups decried it as discriminatory toward gays.

To read the full story

Copyright (c) 2014. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

A Eurasianet partner post from RFE/RL

Number of Russian Asylum Seekers to U.S. Spikes in Wake of 'Antigay' Law

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