Deportation averted for Putin critic who feared return to Russia

Elena Musikhina, a vocal critic of the Kremlin, has been granted a two-year visitor’s permit in Canada

Supporters of a Russian scientist who fears political retribution from the Putin government if she is deported back to her native country say she’ll be allowed to stay in Canada, at least for now.

Elena Musikhina, a vocal critic of the Kremlin, has been granted a two-year visitor’s permit, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May said late Monday.

It means Musikhina and her husband, who faced removal from Canada early next month, will now have time to apply for permanent residency, May said in a statement.

RELATED: Moscow says it regrets UK nerve agent poisoning death

May, who advocated on the family’s behalf, thanked Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen for his “timely intervention,” saying the couple would have faced jail — or worse — if sent back to Russia.

Oxana Genina, a friend of the family, said Musikhina is ”very happy and relieved,” but realizes she has more work to do in order to remain in Canada permanently.

Musikhina believes her family fell into disfavour with Russian authorities for condemning Moscow’s military incursions in Ukraine and for saying Russia illegally annexed Crimea.

She also says her research work uncovered information about serious environmental hazards and pollution from military activity around the large freshwater Lake Baikal in Siberia.

Her supporters say a half-dozen other researchers and officials who were aware of the data died in mysterious and violent circumstances.

Musikhina’s pet dog was shot and she herself had warning shots fired over her head. The Russian FSB, an internal security service and successor of the Soviet-era KGB, began to visit her.

Musikhina and her husband Mikhail fled in 2015 to join their daughter, a permanent resident of Canada, in Gatineau, Que.

The couple unsuccessfully applied for refugee protection and subsequent appeals had failed.

RELATED: Canada backs British claims Russian officials approved spy’s poisoning

The Canada Border Services Agency had set Dec. 3 as a deportation date.

Human-rights activist and former Alberta MP David Kilgour, who has also championed Musikhina’s case, told a recent news conference she faces genuine danger if returned to Russia, given the knowledge she has gained through her research.

Jim Bronskill , The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Benches made from wood that posed a fire risk in Lake Country

The parks team is making benches from the trees removed from the Jack Seaton Park

Rutland pride spills over

Reaction to a story this weekend was clear and worth a second read

Family Day move a welcome change: poll

Okanagan readers voted that the new date for Family Day in B.C. is a positive change

Huge crack and bang heard as Wood Lake fractures

‘It was roaring across the lake,’ Lake Country woman recounts sound of crack in Wood Lake ice

Former Prime Minister comes to Kelowna

Stephen Harper will speak in Kelowna March 12

‘Just like Iron Man’: Calgary surgeon undergoes experimental spinal surgery

Dr. Richi Gill was in a freak accident on a boogie board during a family vacation in Hawaii

Sex abuse survivors to meet with Vatican summit organizers

Pope Francis has urged participants to meet with abuse victims before they came to Rome

Ex-FBI official: ‘Crime may have been committed’ by Trump

Andrew McCabe said FBI had good reason to open a counterintelligence investigation into whether Trump was in league with Russia

Okanagan College professor awarded for promoting financial literacy

Leigh Sindlinger received a Distinguished Service Award for inspiring financial literacy in youth

Poll: What do you think of Family Day weekend’s move?

Until this year, Family Day has fallen on the second Monday in February

Sicamous farmer’s A2 milk could help those with trouble digesting dairy

The milk which contains no A1 beta-casein, a cause of digestive problems for some, hits stores soon

B.C. athlete takes home gold in freestyle aerials at Canada Games

Brayden Kuroda won the event with a combined score of 121.65.

Cabinet likely to extend deadline to reconsider Trans Mountain pipeline

New round of consultations with Indigenous communities is coming

Most Read