Active anti-Putin stand is not enough to become a refugee
On October 30, 2018, at a joint news conference in Ottawa, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May called on the Government of Canada to intervene to prevent the deportation of the former Russian scientist Elena Musikhina whose refugee status claim had been rejected earlier.
As reported by Ottawa Citizen, on October 23, 2018, Elena Musikhina, who has been unsuccessfully seeking for asylum in Canada together with her husband, was told by a law enforcement officer of the Canada Border Service Agency to be prepared for deportation. According to her daughter, Olesia Sunatori, a date for her parents’ flight from Canada to Russia will be set up during their next hearing at the Agency scheduled for November 6. A default can cause their further arrest. In her interview to the newspaper, Elena Musikhina expressed her nagative thoughts in connection with her return to Russia. She declared that she had provided the Canadian Security Intelligence Service with some materials in her possession. With these connections being known, her active involvement in anti-Putin rallies in front of the Russian Embassy in Canada made her an inevitable target of the regime in her own words.
“Canada gave me three additional years of life which I will have to give up upon my arrival to Russia.”
Elena Musikhina and her husband Mikhail Musikhin entered Canada on December 24, 2015, using visitor visas under the pretext of coming to see their daughter Olesia Sunatori who had immigrated to the country in October 2012 on the basis of her marriage to a Canadian citizen. On January 20, 2016, the Russian parents claimed refugee status in Canada, stating that they were in danger because of Musikhina’s political activism and research on ecological damage related to the weapon’s industry in Baikal Lake region. Meanwhile, the tribunal turned down their refugee application and further appeal due to a failure to “provide credible testimony” and to establish “their allegations on the balance of probabilities.” In turn, the Federal Court of Canada declined the application of Elena Musikhina for leave and judicial review of her rejected refugee claim. To obtain a legal status in Canada in order not to be deported, the Russian couple applied for permanent residency on compassionate and humanitarian grounds. The status of their application remains uncertain within Citizenship and Immigration Canada, as it has been resubmitted recently with a previously missing “use of a representative” form from the lawyer.
Despite many discrepancies and distorted details found in Musikhina’s case, she managed to gather an impressive group of supporters. At the news conference in Ottawa, Elizabeth May, quoted by The Canadian Press, called this situation “a matter of life and death.” The former member of Parliament David Kilgour, cited by Ottawa Citizen, believes that “something terrible will happen,” if Elena Musikhina and her husband return to Russia. And Aurel Braun, an expert in international relations and Russian affairs at the University of Toronto, said in his interview with the newspaper that “sending these people back to face real danger ought to offend the conscience of Canadians.” Moreover, on November 2, 2018, Ottawa Citizen published one of the reader’s letters in support of Musikhina’s refugee claim, in which she was presented by the author as “the kind of refugee or immigrant any country should be glad to accept.” At the same time, in her comments on Facebook, Elena Musikhina criticizes “mean authorities” in Canada for their ruling on her refugee case.