Russian FGS officer who escaped Russia to Kazakhstan to be deported to home country

Mikhail Zhilin, an officer with Russia’s Federal Guard Service who escaped Russia to Kazakhstan to avoid mobilisation, is going to be deported back to his home country, his wife Yekaterina has told Novaya-Europe.

The Zhilins, courtesy photo

The Zhilins, courtesy photo

“He called me from his cellphone, said he was in Semey [a city in north Kazakhstan close to the Russian border — Novaya-Europe]. Said he will now be taken to the Russian border,” Yekaterina said.

Mikhail Zhilin has been serving at the FGS for 18 years. Five days after mobilisation was declared, he decided to leave the country with his family. His wife and his children crossed the border via the Koyanbay checkpoint, while Mikhail decided to cross the border illegally as the Zhilins believed he would not be allowed out of Russia as he was an active officer.

The Zhilins were planning on reaching Astana or Almaty and applying for refugee status, however, Kazakhstan’s border guards managed to catch and detain Mikhail. Both Russia and Kazakhstan accused him of illegal crossing of border, while Russia also accused the man of desertion.

The Zhilins were denied refugee status on 30 November. The man was ordered to be deported out of the country by a court decision. Still, he was allowed to leave the country on his own, but when Zhilin attempted to get a flight to Armenia, it was revealed that Russia had put him on the international wanted list.

The Zhilins appealed the court decision and the decision not to grant refugee status.

“An appeals court confirmed his deportation yesterday. I believe they have decided to enforce the sentence, even though our refugee status application appeal has not been yet considered. He must remain protected until the appeals procedure is over, this is what law on refugees says,” Yekaterina told Novaya-Europe.

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Yearning for asylum

Will Kazakhstan hand Mikhail Zhilin, a major with Russia’s Federal Guard Service unwilling to fight in the Ukraine War, over to his home country?

Over 400.000 Russian nationals entered Kazakhstan since Russia declared mobilisation, says Tamara Duisenova, the country’s Minister of Labour and Social Protection of the Population.

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