3 Apr 2014

Crimea Annexation Spurs Some Russians to Emigrate

National polls appear to show widespread support among Russians for the government's seizure and annexation of the Crimean peninsula last month. But not everyone in the country views the move as positive — and some see it as the last straw.

The takeover of Crimea, paired with the Kremlin's renewed crackdown on independent media outlets and opposition politicians, has prompted some people in Russia to make plans to leave the country in pursuit of a better life abroad.


The emigration of members of the intellectual elite has been a persistent problem for post-Soviet Russia, and several high-profile liberal figures have left the country in recent years, including opposition leader and former chess champion Garry Kasparov and economist Sergei Guriyev.

Russia also continues to rank among the top countries from which people flee seeking political asylum. Last month, the United Nations issued a report saying that Russia was the second leading country after Syria from which citizens ask for safe haven. According to the report, about 40,000 Russians asked for asylum in countries around the world in 2013, a 76 percent increase from the year before. Germany and Poland were the most popular destinations for Russian asylum seekers.

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