Yuri Panchul (panchul) wrote in talk_politics,
Yuri Panchul
panchul
talk_politics

Should The West automatically give a political asylum to a Russian street protester?

Gentlemen: I believe there is a case of a serious disconnect and I need your help to clarify the situation.

What happended: Alexander Dolmatov, a member of a Russian opposition party The Other Russia (effectively a renamed National Bolshevik Party) decided to take part in a street meeting that led him to a fight with a Russian police: Dolmatov is on the right:



As a result, he got in trouble with a Russian state and decided to flight to Netherlands, where he applied for political refugee status:





Dolmatov was denied the refugee status because Dutch decided that the only danger he is facing in Russia is 500 rubles fine (about $20). As a result, Dolmatov commited suicide.

It is also important to know that Dolmatov was working in a Russian company that designed tactical missiles and had a government security clearance (minimal level - so he did not work on anything secret).

Now: a Russian journalist Oleg Kashin published an article in The New York Times implying that the West has a moral obligation "to keep doors open" to "thousands" of Russian political activists who may choose to flee Russia when they feel they can be prosecuted.


http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/23/opinion/a-cold-shoulder-for-russian-dissidents.html

His death is a tragedy to those who knew him and also to thousands of anti-Putin protesters who, fearing persecution, have hoped that the West would offer them a haven.

During the cold war, Western public opinion was resolutely on the side of harboring persecuted Soviet dissidents. But as the European Union has drawn closer to Russia economically, interest in Russian human rights has waned, except when developments are so outrageous — like the assassination of the journalist Anna Politkovskaya in 2006 — that they cannot be ignored. If the West’s doors remain closed, more Russian dissidents will become victims of the state — or die by their own hands.


I personally think that Oleg Kashin and other Russians like him have a mistaken assumption about how the West perceives these "fighters for the democracy" in Russia. Kashin probably think that Dolmatov-type political activists are a kind of proxy fighters of the West in its mission to democratise Russia. As a result they expect the West to protect these activists from any misfortune. I also may be mistaken, so I decided to create a poll:

How should the West treat a street protester from Russia who applies for a political asylum?

The Freedom Fighter should be given a minor celebrity status, highly paid job, access to media
0(0.0%)
At least he should get a Green Card, basic food and shelter, medical insurance, food stamps
5(25.0%)
The West should attack Russia just like Iraq and put this protesters in charge of the new government
4(20.0%)
A political asylum should be given only in special cases when a person is likely to be killed
6(30.0%)
This guy was fighting with a cop. The Dutch should not shield him from responsibility
1(5.0%)
This guy was working on a missile factory. The Dutch should investigate him before letting him in
1(5.0%)
Other choices (please comment)
3(15.0%)
Tags: democracy, freedom of speech, poll, russia
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