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.

Just Posted

Couple home safe after COVID-19 lockdown in Peru

Cortney Pitts and Maxime Patenaude “won the lottery” to get to come home from Peru.

Back in print

We are pleased to announce that the April 9 issue of the Pioneer will be available in print.

Foodbanking in the time of COVID-19

Local food bank needs are high, but Lawrie Mack said: “there is hope to counter the gloom.”

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

‘Better days will return’: Queen Elizabeth delivers message amid COVID-19 pandemic

The Queen said crisis reminds her of her first address during World War II in 1940

Emergency aid portal opens Monday, cash could be in bank accounts by end of week: Trudeau

Emergency benefit will provide $2,000 a month for those who have lost their income due to COVID-19

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

COVID-19: Hospitals remain safe for childbirth, say Vancouver Island care providers

North Island Hospital has been asked to share its perinatal COVID-19 response plan

Canadian cadets to mark 103rd anniversary of Vimy Ridge April 9 virtually

Idea of Captain Billie Sheridan in Williams Lake, B.C. who wondered what to do in times of COVID-19

B.C. VIEWS: Pandemic shows need for adequate care home staffing

Seniors in B.C. care homes face challenging times

QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Take this test and find out how well you know Canada’s most popular winter sport

Most Read