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

Trail police looking for male suspect driving red van

RCMP report the man asked a young boy to get in his vehicle

Four fires still burning in West Kootenay

More than 25 fires were started by lightning in the last week.

Castlegar police seek dawn home intruder

Man walked into house at 4 a.m., asks son about mother

Nuclear medicine temporarily suspended at KBRH

Upgrades expected to be in service by end of September

Kootenay Boundary emergency alert test coming Friday

RDKB emergency alerting system will be tested June 21 at 10:30 a.m.

VIDEO: Trans Mountain expansion project gets green light, again

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the decision in Ottawa on Tuesday afternoon

MPs hear retired B.C. nurse’s petition to change compensation for fatal medical errors

Teri McGrath wants provinces to implement no-fault system for medical errors

Horgan says he’ll still defend B.C. coast after second Trans Mountain approval

Meanwhile, one B.C. First Nation has announced plans for a legal challenge

Demonstrators on either side of Trans Mountain debate clash in Vancouver

Crowd heard from member of Indigenous-led coalition that hopes to buy 51% of expansion project

Police investigating fatal collision near Grave Lake

Grave Lake is located approximately halfway between Sparwood and Elkford

Grieving B.C. mom hopes Facebook message leads to new investigation into son’s Surrey homicide

Criminal Justice Branch didn’t lay charges, concluding no substantial likelihood of murder or manslaughter conviction

B.C.’s measles vaccination program gains traction in May

More than 15,000 doses of the MMR vaccine has been administered across the province

B.C. farmers concerned Agricultural Land Reserve changes choking their livelihood

Dozens voice concerns at special meeting hosted on Vancouver Island

UPDATE: Two-year-old involved in Chilliwack pool drowning has died

Toddler was reported to not be breathing as air ambulance called out Thursday afternoon

Most Read