May 16, 2024

A New Wave of Emigration to Europe


A New Wave of Emigration to Europe
The flag of the European Union, seen in Karlskrona (Sweden). MPD01605, Wikimedia Commons

According to Eurostat data analyzed by the independent outlet Verstka, in 2023 at least 18,820 Russian citizens applied for asylum in European Union nations.

This surge in asylum requests surpasses figures from the last seven years. The previous high was 2016, when 22,930 Russian citizens sought asylum in EU countries. The increase in applications during that period was primarily attributed to refugees from Chechnya fleeing alleged repression.

Eurostat reported that Germany received the highest number of asylum applications: 7,655. France followed with 4,125 requests, while Spain ranked third, with 1,615. The spike in asylum applications in 2023 may be connected to the mass wave of emigration triggered by Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine and subsequent mobilization efforts and economic shifts. An estimated 800,000 persons departed Russia in 2022.

At the same time, approximately half of these emigrants were unable to acclimate to their new countries and returned to Russia, contributing significantly to the Russian economy, constituting between a fifth and a third of the total GDP in 2023. Sociologists Emil Kamalov and Ivetta Sergeeva suggest that this trend of repatriation will continue in the future, as only 41% of Russian emigrants perceive their situation in foreign countries as fully or partially stable, with a quarter reporting experiences of discrimination at the personal or institutional level.

However, factors such as new mobilization drives and increased repression could influence individuals' decisions to return to Russia.

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