By Carl Schreck | October 15, 2014
WASHINGTON — U.S. asylum applications from Russian nationals have jumped 15 percent for the second straight year, a rise that asylum seekers and attorneys attribute to Russians fleeing their homeland due to fears of persecution and antigay violence.
The United States received 969 new asylum applications from Russian nationals in the 2014 fiscal year ending September 30, up from 837 the previous year and a 34 percent increase compared to 2012, according U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) statistics obtained by RFE/RL.
The U.S. government does not disclose the basis of the petitioners’ asylum claims. But applicants and immigration attorneys said the rise is almost certainly linked to an exodus of Russian gays following President Vladimir Putin’s signing of a law banning “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relationships” last year and violent guerrilla attacks by antigay groups in Russia.