Deportation averted for Putin critic who feared return to Russia

Elena Musikhina, a vocal critic of the Kremlin, has been granted a two-year visitor’s permit in Canada

Supporters of a Russian scientist who fears political retribution from the Putin government if she is deported back to her native country say she’ll be allowed to stay in Canada, at least for now.

Elena Musikhina, a vocal critic of the Kremlin, has been granted a two-year visitor’s permit, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May said late Monday.

It means Musikhina and her husband, who faced removal from Canada early next month, will now have time to apply for permanent residency, May said in a statement.

RELATED: Moscow says it regrets UK nerve agent poisoning death

May, who advocated on the family’s behalf, thanked Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen for his “timely intervention,” saying the couple would have faced jail — or worse — if sent back to Russia.

Oxana Genina, a friend of the family, said Musikhina is ”very happy and relieved,” but realizes she has more work to do in order to remain in Canada permanently.

Musikhina believes her family fell into disfavour with Russian authorities for condemning Moscow’s military incursions in Ukraine and for saying Russia illegally annexed Crimea.

She also says her research work uncovered information about serious environmental hazards and pollution from military activity around the large freshwater Lake Baikal in Siberia.

Her supporters say a half-dozen other researchers and officials who were aware of the data died in mysterious and violent circumstances.

Musikhina’s pet dog was shot and she herself had warning shots fired over her head. The Russian FSB, an internal security service and successor of the Soviet-era KGB, began to visit her.

Musikhina and her husband Mikhail fled in 2015 to join their daughter, a permanent resident of Canada, in Gatineau, Que.

The couple unsuccessfully applied for refugee protection and subsequent appeals had failed.

RELATED: Canada backs British claims Russian officials approved spy’s poisoning

The Canada Border Services Agency had set Dec. 3 as a deportation date.

Human-rights activist and former Alberta MP David Kilgour, who has also championed Musikhina’s case, told a recent news conference she faces genuine danger if returned to Russia, given the knowledge she has gained through her research.

Jim Bronskill , The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Australian investigators head to C-130 plane crash site

B.C. gov’t makes statement, sends condolences to Coulson Aviation

Veteran Island journalist battles cancer through pioneering treatment

Vancouver Island rallies around JR Rardon and family during stay in Seattle

Coulson Aviation C-130 crashes in Australia, killing three on board

Three people are confirmed dead in the crash in New South Wales

Alberni Valley fire chief, captain retire after decades of service

Charlie Starratt has been fire chief of BCVFD for 27 years

VIDEO: Rare ‘ice circle’ spotted on Kamloops river

An ice circle or ice pan, has formed in the chilly waters just east of the Yellowhead Bridge

Uber, Lyft approved for ride-hailing in Lower Mainland

Kater Technologies Inc.’s application was rejected

B.C. man rescued after getting trapped headfirst in well as water level rose

The rescue involved crews from Oak Bay and Saanich

RCMP investigating sexual allegation against Lower Mainland police officer

Delta officer suspended while the alleged off-duty incident involving a co-worker is investigated

Former Mountie, sports coach convicted of sex abuse in B.C. granted day parole

Alan Davidson was sentenced to almost six years for abusing seven boys in the late 1970s and early 1990s

VIDEO: Person in wheelchair narrowly avoids collision with car in Kelowna

There were no injuries in the scary looking near-accident last week in Rutland

Here’s what Canada is doing to stop the coronavirus from getting in

Health officials are monitoring multiple possible cases in Canada

B.C. still struggling to control non-resident medical care fraud

Unpaid bills, out-of-province claimants a costly legacy of MSP

Most Read