Who are the Russians fleeing abroad?
Russians fleeing their country to escape mobilization are those who can financially afford it. Their poorer fellow citizens are currently being conscripted into the Russian army.
Until mobilization was announced last week, the members of both these groups did not protest the fact that their country has been executing an undeclared aggressive war against their neighbor Ukraine since 2014. On the contrary, most of these people supported their country’s political leadership, although mostly passively. Therefore, they share some responsibility for the way their country has behaved.
Are these people being persecuted for their political views?
Only now, when they are supposed to fulfill their civic duty to their own country do they seek refuge abroad out of fear for their own lives. Hence, they are avoiding even the possibility of expressing their disagreement with the mobilization at home. Failing to obey the laws of one’s own country does not constitute political persecution and therefore cannot be considered a legitimate reason for granting these people asylum in the EU.
Why are they a security risk for the EU?
Among the hundreds of thousands of Russians attempting to flee, there are certainly members and officers of the Russian intelligence services. Thanks to the current exodus, these services will be able to deploy a large number of agents abroad, who will have a “legitimate cover” and will continue their current subversive and illegal activities aimed at undermining democracy in Western countries, but only now from within the EU.
Additionally, most of these migrants have not changed their minds about the West or Ukraine, which they continue to hate and see as a threat to Russia. They continue to be the bearers of Russian chauvinism and imperialism. As such, they also pose a security risk to the countries where they are heading and where they want to settle.
Many of these destination countries are housing large numbers of Ukrainian refugees, the vast majority of whom are women and children, the real victims of the Russian regime. When these two groups confront each other, public order may be threatened and internal conflicts may arise. Russian provocations against Ukrainian refugees have already taken place in various EU countries.
Who should the EU help in the first place?
Currently, the EU has a moral obligation to help the real victims of political persecution or Russian aggression, especially Ukrainian citizens on EU territory or Russian human rights activists. This assistance already requires considerable material and financial resources, which are not unlimited.
The Recommendation of the Week is part of our regular Security Briefing.