Head of the Organising Committee
Sanna Turoma
sanna.turoma [at] helsinki.fi

Conference Coordinator
Kaarina Aitamurto
kaarina.aitamurto [at] helsinki.fi

Conference Secretary
Maarit Elo-Valente
maarit.elo-valente [at] helsinki.fi

Conference Intern
Miikka Piiroinen
miikka.piiroinen [at] helsinki.fi

Conference e-mail:
fcree-aleksconf [at] helsinki.fi

The Aleksanteri Institute

Unioninkatu 33 (P.O. Box 42)
00014 University of Helsinki
phone +358-(0)50-3565 802

aleksanteri [at] helsinki.fi


Past Aleksanteri Conferences

Alisa Zhabenko (University of Helsinki, Finland)

Leaving Russia: Russian Queer Asylum Seekers in EU

The number of asylum seekers from Russia, seeking entry into the EU area has systematically increased during the last few years. This is alarming since it is particularly a growing amount of members from LGTBI groups who seek for asylum on the basis of sexual orientation. This development is connected to recent antigay modifications of Russian federal laws. New laws have penalized, among other, the dissemination of material seen as promoting homosexuality. Although some research data and information already exists on this rapidly changing socio-political situation of the dramatically changing legal landscape in Russia, a more comprehensive overview as well as empirical data from different EU countries is needed. My discussion will be based on data collected by semi-structured interviews with Russian (and from former Russian republics) queer asylum seekers who have already applied or got asylum in Finland and Germany, on basis of sexual orientation discrimination. Finland - the first case of the research - among others countries of European Union became popular destination for Russian queer asylum seekers about two years ago. By Dublin agreement it is claimed that the country which border has been crossed first is responsible for asylum seekers, that is why nowadays a lot of asylum seekers that even applied for asylum in other countries end up in Finland. Germany presented in this paper as the comparative example of the EU country that hosts queer asylum seekers. Also according to recent research data, Germany is the most desirable European country for seeking asylum among Russian queer community. In my paper, I will focus on the following questions: How large is the queer refugee group in researched countries? What struggles do asylum seekers face after their decision to seek for asylum on the basis of sexual orientation? Do Russian asylum seekers influence on the political situation or debates in host EU countries?