Record Numbers of Russians Seek Political Refuge Abroad

Map of Russia. Source: allrussia.ruA new report from the United Nations documents the high number of Russians who are attempting to leave the country as political refugees. As the Interfax news agency reported, Russia now ranks second in the world for the number of citizens attempting to flee the country and receive asylum in industrialized countries.

According to the UN Refugee Agency, Iraq maintained its spot as number one on the list. Russia is trailed by China, Serbia and Pakistan. The Agency reported that some 45.2 thousand Iraqis and 18.8 thousand Russians sought political asylum in 2007. This figure counts the number of applications for asylum to 43 industrialized countries, and does not take other migrations into account. In the case of Iraq, some 2 million persons are estimated to have fled to neighboring Syria and Jordan.

The most common destination countries for refugees were the US, Sweden and France. Some 49.2 thousand persons applied for refugee status to the US, compared with 36.2 thousand to Sweden.