What Happens to Russian Refugees Coming to Austria?

People ♦ Published: August 17, 2022; 09:23 ♦ (Vindobona)

The war in Ukraine did not only trigger a flight movement in the country under attack. A flight of smaller proportions is also noticeable from Russia. Read here at Vindobona how many Russians have applied for asylum in Austria and what their reasons for fleeing are.

In Russia, opponents of the government are persecuted. / Picture: © Wikimedia Commons: Evgeniy Isaev from Moscow, Russia, CC BY 2.0

The invasion of Ukraine by Russian troops and the subsequent fighting have caused a wave of refugees on a large scale. According to the UNHCR, over 5.9 million people have already fled their homes and sought asylum in safe countries.

Poland, for example, has already taken in over 1.2 million displaced Ukrainians within its national borders. But it is not only Ukrainians who are no longer safe in their own country. A smaller-scale refugee movement is also visible in Russia.

These people, just like Ukrainian displaced persons, can claim unbureaucratic protection as war refugees in Austria after the EU directive came into force. Exact numbers are difficult to determine, but it can be said that many thousands of Russian refugees are currently seeking protection from the Russian government in Europe.

According to the Austrian Ministry of the Interior, 262 people applied for asylum in Austria in 2022. According to the Vienna Social Fund, 1,062 Russian citizens are currently (as of July 2022) receiving basic care in Vienna. In 2021, before the war began, 8,800 people fled Russia and sought asylum in other countries.

Of these, 459 came to Austria, of which 226 applications were positively processed. The reasons for fleeing are many and varied. Whether it was people who left the country after the war began because they feared reprisals, were horrified by the government or the forced recruitment for an unjust war. Among them were many journalists, IT specialists and artists.

The Ministry of the Interior in Austria noted that Russians who had to leave their homeland because they had to expect persecution in Russia can successfully apply for asylum in Austria.

This application is handled within the framework of a "normal" asylum procedure. However, the probability of success is uncertain, the Ministry of the Interior remains vague on this statement.

"Asylum procedures are always examined on a case-by-case basis, so it is not possible to make a general statement," a spokesperson for the Ministry of the Interior explained to the Kurier.

BMI - Ministry of the Interior - Bundesministerium fuer Inneres