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Influx Of Chechens Drives Record Number Of Russians Asylum Seekers In Germany
Galina Dudina

BERLIN — There are a record number of asylum seekers pinning their hopes on Germany this year, and refugees from Russia by far represent the largest group. Of those, some 90% are from the North Caucasus, particularly Chechnya.

German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich has characterized the situation as “unsettling.” Germany has more asylum requests than any other country in the European Union, and about a fifth of these come from Russian citizens. This year was the first time since 2000, when the German Immigration Service started collecting data, that Russian citizens represented the largest group of applicants, edging out countries such as Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Serbia.

“The overwhelming majority of the Russian asylum applicants come from Chechnya and the North Caucasus,” says a German Immigration Service source. The German newspaper Die Welt has described it less politely. “Terrorists apply for asylum in Germany.”

Alexander Kamkin, an expert from the German European Research Institute, says refugees are "often seen as people who were not able to integrate into Chechnya’s power structure or as supporters of radical Islam, who choose to apply for asylum in a country where the government won’t interfere with the diaspora’s way of life.”

The German Immigration Service source says the security situation is, just as before, “quite problematic” in the North Caucasus. Asylum seekers are motivated by a desire to escape poverty and hope for a better life. And they are helped by the proliferation of criminal organizations that help people emigrate illegally.

Word of German incentives

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Geopolitics

NATO Entry For Sweden And Finland? Erdogan May Not Be Bluffing

When the two Nordic countries confirmed their intention to join NATO this week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan repeated his plans to block the application. Accusing Sweden and Finland of' "harboring" some of his worst enemies may not allow room for him to climb down.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared opposition to Finland and Sweden entering NATO

Meike Eijsberg

-Analysis-

LONDON — When Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared his opposition to Finland and Sweden entering NATO, it took most of the West's top diplomatic experts by surprise — with the focus squarely on how Russia would react to having two new NATO members in the neighborhood. (So far, that's been a surprise too)

But now Western oversight on Turkey's stance has morphed into a belief in some quarters that Erdogan is just bluffing, trying to get concessions from the negotiations over such a key geopolitical issue.

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To be clear, any prospective NATO member requires the consent of all 30 member states and their parliaments. So Erdogan does indeed have a card to play, which is amplified by the sense of urgency: NATO, Sweden and Finland are keen to complete the accession process with the war in Ukraine raging and the prospect of strengthening the military alliance's position around the Baltic Sea.

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