Ukrainian refugees in Russia worse off than they were in Ukraine, Russian official says

Ukrainian refugees from Donbas in Russia (Image:

Ukrainian refugees from Donbas in Russia (Image: 

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In a statement that undermines Vladimir Putin’s notion that Russians and Ukrainians are one people and that is hardly likely to lead more Ukrainians to view refuge in Russia as an attractive option, a Moscow official says that Ukrainian refugees are much worse off in the Russian capital than they were in their homeland.

In her annual report, Tatyana Potyaeva, the plenipotentiary for human rights in the city of Moscow, says that many Ukrainian refugees came to Russia because of “the absence of any alternative” but their situation has become dire because “despite their cultural closeness and ‘slavic visage,’ [they] often cannot find good work.”

As a result, she said, “they live in Russia in worse conditions than they had in Ukraine.”

A house in Donbas destroyed by Russian artillery fire (Image: YouTube screengrab)

A house in Donbas destroyed by Russian artillery fire

But their situation has gotten worse not only because of their inability to find good jobs but also because of the shortcomings of officials who have not come up with the kind of documentation that would allow them to receive even the benefits they are entitled to under Russian law, Potyaeva says.

As a result, many of the Ukrainian refugees have fallen victim to fraud or even descended into criminal activities, a development that if true will do little to win the Ukrainian refugees in Russia support from Russians. The ombudsman says that Russian officials must do more to reach out to them and provide support, including support to return home if the Ukrainians want that.

Between March and July 2014, more than 20,000 Ukrainians appealed to Moscow officials for refugee status, she says, but by January 1, 2015, only 5500 of them had received either the status of refugee or temporary asylum in Russia.

According to Potyaeva, the Ukrainian refugees in Moscow – and presumably this applies to Ukrainian refugees elsewhere in the Russian Federation as well – consist of several groups: those who fled areas where military actions were taking place, those from eastern Ukraine where there was no violence, and those from elsewhere in Ukraine who left “in search of a better life.”

Some of the Ukrainians now in Russia do not qualify for refugee status. Indeed, there were at least a few of them who were already in Russia but simply decided to take advantage of the situation either by registering as refugees or entering into marriage with Russians in order to get the social welfare benefits that could provide.

According to Potyaeva, the earlier “flood” of Ukrainian refugees into Moscow has “stopped,” and Russian officials now are in a position to examine each case in particular and grant temporary asylum “only to those who qualify,” most often by having relatives in the Russian capital.



Relevant stories:

Four inspiring stories of Donbas refugees who found success in Kyiv

Ukrainian churches help Donbas refugees

Ukrainians welcome Tatar refugees from Russian invasion

Modular camp for refugees was opened in Zaporizhzhia

Muslim volunteers in Kyiv provide support to soldiers and refugees


Edited by: A. N.

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  1. Avatar Dean Venture says:

    Are they better off than the refugees that were sent to Siberia? With the demographic issues Russia has had in the past, you would think they would be more welcoming. Perhaps they assume that if word of poor conditions never gets back to the source, they’ll keep coming anyhow.

  2. Avatar Kruton says:


  3. Avatar Brent says:

    Seeing this narrative a lot lately from you Kremlin sheep. Must be a new directive from your overlords to hammer the “Ukrainians are Russians” b.s.

    Guess what “skippy”, they’re wrong and you are wrong. Ukrainians don’t want to to be 2nd class Russians. That’s the domain of lying mindless sheep like yourself. Now slime back to whatever orifice birthed you.

    1. Avatar jwz says:

      You must have been riding your Putin butt plug a little too rough there, cowboy.

    2. Avatar John Shirley says:

      Did you know that a “St.PeteTroll” gets extra “brownie” points and thus more pay if he can coax someone to reply to them about a “prominent topic”
      Google “Russian Troll factory”
      Just something to think about.

    3. Avatar Michel Cloarec says:


    4. Avatar Michel Cloarec says:

      WHAT OTHERS, YOU HAVE 339 VOTES ! FOR 200 COMMENTS PER DAY ! DO YOU GET DOG BISCUITS AS EXTRA TREATS . Go out of your cell , don´t forget to kiss the guard , you will get 5 minutes extra fresh air .

  4. Avatar Michel Cloarec says:

    I would say they were fooled ! I feel bad for these families hoping to find a better life, who did put this in their heads ? Could it be that the maneuvers were to repopulate parts of russia with fresh workers . That is why the mines in donbass are not reopened . The miners will have to move , maybe to russia ! More people to be fooled ! How can russia keeps its promise to these peoples , when the miners in russia are on strikes because they did not get wages since December. Can someone tell me how this equation can work. Russia is not only Moscow ! The rest is only a facade hiding behind an utopia called Rusky Mir . Poor russia ! poor russians !
    Get rid of eneptocracy and kleptocracy, maybe it will be the light at the end of the tunnel !

  5. Avatar Michel Cloarec says:


  6. Avatar Michel Cloarec says:

    RT bull shit as usual , nobody looks at these russian propaganda !