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eyes on the U.S.

Former Cold War Foe Russia Increasingly Expels Americans From Its Turf

Stranger in Moscow
Stranger in Moscow
Grigory Tumanov and Elena Chernenko*

MOSCOW — Russia is increasingly deporting U.S. citizens on its soil in recent years. Americans living in Russia have also seen a sharp spike in the number of residence permits that have been revoked since the start of this year, signaling a deterioration in relations between the two former Cold War foes.

Russian authorities say they're enforcing immigration laws and urge U.S. citizens not to "demonize Russia." But a look at the numbers demonstrates otherwise.

Russian authorities sent back just one U.S. citizen in 2012. That number gradually grew since then to 57 Americans last year. In the first half of this year, they expelled 18 Americans.

The data on residency permits reveals a more complex picture. Although the number of revoked permits was 19 in 2012, that number plunged to 8 last year. But just the first half of this year saw the number jump up to 25.

The interior ministry says that these Americans had violated the conditions of their stay by remaining in the country for more than six months beyond their permit's expiry date or by infringing labor laws. But U.S. diplomats, Russian human rights activists and many political analysts view the data as a sign of worsening relations between the two countries.

[rebelmouse-image 27090379 alt="""" original_size="500x333" expand=1]

More transparency needed in Moscow? — Photo: Zabara Alexander

One deportee, Jennifer Gaspar, was separated from her husband and daughter in 2014, after legally residing in Saint Petersburg for a decade. Russian migration officials annulled Gaspar's residency, calling her a threat to national security on the basis of a certificate issued by the Federal Security Services, which described her as favoring "forcible change of the constitutional order."

Gaspar says that she is being expelled from Russia because her husband, Ivan Pavlov, is a human rights attorney. Pavlov heads "Team 29," a group of journalists and young lawyers advocating for government transparency.

Dr. Mikhail Troitskiy, an assistant professor at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, is among those who say politics is definitely to blame for the crackdown on U.S. citizens.

Pavel Chikov, a human rights activist, echoes the belief.

"The United States and Russia have a complex relationship that has been around for a long time, so the trends in migration are difficult to analyze," he says. "But they are there nonetheless."

*This is an abbreviated version of the original article.

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Poland Elections: I'm Catholic, And Will Never Vote For The Ruling Catholic Party

In this editorial for Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza, former Polish Senator, Solidarność activist, Member of Parliament, and Environmental Minister Antoni Tokarczuk examines what he calls the “true motivations” of ruling party Law and Justice leader Jarosław Kaczyński, and warns against his use of the Church for his party’s gain, especially ahead of the upcoming Parliamentary elections.

Close up on a hand putting a vote in a ballot box, with the Polish flag as backdrop

Voting in Poland,

Antoni Tokarczuk


WARSAW — I had the opportunity to get to know Law and Justice leader Jarosław Kaczyński, and what really motivates his political candidacy — and the real reasons are far different than those he claims in order to pull the wool over the eyes of the Polish public.

I’m writing about this topic as a graduate of sociology from the Department of Christian Philosophy from the Catholic University of Lublin, and a currently practicing Catholic, but also as a former social and political activist, with extensive personal experience in the public arena. I was, among other things, a co-founder and member of the highest authorities of the first branch of the Solidarność ("Solidarity") movement and a participant in its underground activities, after martial law was introduced in Poland. Later, I continued my political work as a senator, Member of Parliament and as Poland’s Minister of the Environment.

But, perhaps the most important point in all of this, is that I happened to be the deputy president of the now-defunct Christian Democratic Center Agreement ("Porozumienie Centrum") political party, and Kaczyński’s direct successor at a time when he suspended his political activity. Therefore, I had a great opportunity to get to know the current Law and Justice (PiS) leader in depth.

Through this, I discovered his true approach to values and moral principles, rather than those created out of his own political calculation. As a result, I cut all contact and collaborative efforts with him, both as a politician, and as a person.

For over 20 years, I have not actively participated in the political life of this country. In this current moment, which will be a vital one on the path to Poland's future, I feel a moral imperative to speak publicly on the issue in question.

I do not want to speak as a politician, but rather as a person who is categorically opposed to the instrumental, nefarious use of the Catholic religion and its institutions for the party’s unbridled ambitions and lust for power. I am opposing the unauthorized appropriation of a religious banner, which calls itself the “only Catholic party” in order to cover up its true activities, which are in fact contrary to the essence of Christianity.

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