Russian dissidents fleeing the regime are coming to Istanbul

According to Andres Morenga, a Turkish correspondent for the Spanish newspaper El Pais, there has been an increase in the number of Russian dissidents fleeing Russian rule who like Istanbul. “My mother told me I was a traitor and I would be ashamed of my decision. Worse, we have relatives in Ukraine. I stopped trying to convince her,” said Morenza, a Russian academic in Istanbul.

The aggression launched by Russia on the territory of Ukraine caused war between the two countries. The toughest war activism, which provoked reactions in many countries, came from Russia. Many Russian activists protested against the war in squares, on television, and on social media. In Russia, where thousands of anti-war protesters are thought to have been detained, they are seeking refuge in neighboring countries.

Andres Morenza, the Turkish correspondent for the Spanish newspaper El Pais, who follows in the footsteps of Russian dissidents, spoke to Russians in Istanbul. Morenza writes that most anti-war white collars came to Istanbul to escape the Kremlin’s strict policy.

Every day 50 flights land in Istanbul

According to সংবাদzgür Duygu Durgun’s translation of the Wall, Morenza says trained manpower, mostly white-collar, who have found a solution to relocate to Istanbul because of economic problems caused by the Kremlin’s tough policies and international boycotts against the Russian war.

According to the news on the web page of the newspaper dated March 19, 2022, Morenza recently went to Moscow, St. Petersburg, to talk to the Russians who came to Istanbul. He said an average of 50 planes land daily in Istanbul from St. Petersburg and other Russian cities.

Flight tickets have started

Tickets for the Moscow-Istanbul flight have reached astronomical figures of 1,500 euros, the report said, adding that many Russians who have immigrated to Istanbul include academics, artists, designers, programmers and high-profile people working in the technology sector.

Reports say that a few planes that left Russia took thousands of migrants to other countries in the region. Although the number of Russians immigrating to Georgia was announced in the thousands last week, it was said that 6,000 Russians flew to Armenia and 2,000 to Israel daily.

Young and educated Russians, on the other hand, prefer Istanbul because of its geographical proximity to Western Europe and its cheapness.

Fear of ‘Rusphobi’

The news, which drew attention to the fact that Istanbul has become a ‘little Moscow’, said that opposition rapper Oximimron had given a concert in Kadikoye Sahan on March 15 and that Russian opponents of the war had also taken part in it.

While the report said that the Russians in Istanbul feared that hatred of Putin would turn into “rasphobia”, it was stated that he wanted the whole world to know that there was something among the Russians who did not call for war.

“The channel I work with has increased the number of viewers.”

In an interview with El Pais, Valeria Ratnikova, a 22-year-old journalist, said she never thought she would leave Russia and that she suddenly found herself on a plane in Istanbul because of the revelations.

After starting journalism three years ago, Ratnikova’s last job was as a political reporter at Dodge TV. Ratnikova further explained that the channel she works for has a purposeful approach to the war in Ukraine, which is why the number of viewers is increasing day by day.

Ratnikova said that after growing interest in the channel, the Russian government shut down the channel’s website for six days and that journalists would be imprisoned for “broadcasting official information.”

“Shelter of 300 journalists in different countries”

According to the news published in El Pais, almost all independent news sites in Russia have been shut down in recent weeks and about 300 journalists have taken refuge in different countries.

One of the Russian journalists who immigrated to Istanbul said on condition of anonymity:

“Punishment for saying a war, which the government defines as ‘military operation’, is a war, 15 years in prison ৷ even if it is not enough, you can pay for your mistake with your life.”

The young technologist Daniel also came to Istanbul because he thought Moscow was no longer a safe place for people like him. Daniel, who arrived in Istanbul via Uzbekistan, said: “We were very worried about the cancellation of the international flight because it had happened to us several times. There are further rumors that they will close the border so that no one can go, “he said.

“After the attack, we all woke up in a different country.”

“Everything changes very quickly in Russia. After February 24, we all woke up in a very different country. Every day new laws are being passed,” said Daniel, who began expressing security concerns for himself and his family after taking part in anti-war protests. You used to know that you could probably go to jail for your political views, but now you are one hundred percent sure. “

“Mom told me I was a trailer.”

A Russian academic, who did not want to be named, explained his flight from the country, “I did not want to be in an omnipotent state.”

Explaining that he was separated not only from his homeland but also from his family, the educator said, “My mother told me I was a traitor and I would be ashamed of my decision. Worst of all, we have relatives in Ukraine. I have already given up trying to convince him. The problem is television. My family sleeps with the TV and the state propaganda has taken over people like a religion.

“They call for a trailer and aim to shut down the brain drain.”

According to analyst Alexei Levinson, the presence of highly educated professionals among those who have immigrated from Russia has created a significant problem for the country.

Noting that there are immigrants who choose to leave the country because of their political views and a significant portion of those who do leave Russia for economic reasons, Levinson said, “Russia’s economy is doing very badly. Many companies are closing down and leaving the country because of sanctions. “Many have reached a point where they can no longer serve. This lack of professionalism will only make things worse.”

According to analysts, Russian administrators define immigrants as “traitors” with the aim of closing the brain drain.

Financial approval is a big problem

Another problem is the future of white-collar workers who work on projects for Russian-led companies in Europe or North America. Money transfers are almost impossible because debit cards and SWIFT systems have been canceled due to restrictions. People cannot access their money in the bank. To get out of the financial stalemate, some Russians find solutions by opening new accounts in Turkish banks.

Anthropologist Eva Rapoport commented on Russian immigration: “Many Russians may come to Istanbul to take a break to get a visa to go to another country.” “But there will be some because Turkey is close to Russia. In the process, anti-Istanbul could become the center of attraction for Russian culture. “

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