Asylum decisions are taken quickly until a common European policy is found.
According to statistics from the Finnish Immigration Service, 1,109 Russian citizens are seeking asylum in Finland due to the threat of military service. A total of 1,179 people have fled Russia to Finland after Russian President Vladimir Putin partially suspended operations last week.
– However, a decision on asylum has yet to be made, Sanna Sutter, director of immigration at the Home Office, told STT.
The Nordic countries have discussed asylum applications of Russian citizens who fled summons and have decided to wait for a decision from the EU asylum agency for the time being. So no decision has been taken about the places of refuge.
– We take the EU Asylum Agency’s target setting for Russia as the basis for decision-making, as movement within the EU will increase further if national policies differ too much.
According to Sutter’s information, the Finnish immigration service has been active, and Finland has exchanged information on the matter with other Nordic countries.
Russian scientist Vyacheslav Skokov is one of those who fled to Finland. In his experience, almost nothing is happening now in the asylum process. Skokov has been in Finland for half a year and it is estimated that the asylum process could take up to a year and a half in Finland.
– I think the processing time is getting longer because there are also a lot of people coming to Finland from Ukraine.
The purpose of Russia’s campaign was to get more military forces to Ukraine from both those who had already completed their military service and those who were recruited, moving large numbers of people from Russia since last fall.
Avoiding recruitment can lead to a jail term of two years and can be prevented from leaving the country. The proposal was last implemented during World War II.
In addition, the Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament, approved a law in April that enables conscripts and reservists to be called up electronically for military service. Electronic subpoenas give officers the opportunity for new types of coercive measures.
If the recipient of the electronic summons does not register for the service, he or she may be automatically banned from leaving the country. In addition, the assets of the refugee may be frozen.
In the past, the surest way to avoid the draft in Russia was to go to university. However, in March, the Duma introduced an initiative to raise the age limit from the current 18–27 years to 21–30 years. It has been speculated that the purpose of the change is to get to students who avoid the draft.
Currently, the EU asylum agency and immigration authorities of EU member states are gathering information on the situation in Russia and discussing whether it is safe to return there.
According to Sutter, it is possible to start building solutions even with an accelerated timescale, based on general background information on countries.
– In Finland, asylum interviews have already been conducted swiftly, but it is good to wait for the EU Asylum Agency’s policy before taking action.
Progress has been made in the Finish Line process with respect to Russia, but there is no specific time frame for completion. The alignment was previously projected to be completed this spring.
According to Sutter, Finland has an obligation to conduct as thorough asylum checks for Russian citizens who have requested protection as with other asylum applications.
– We have an obligation to make as accurate a decision as possible and find out whether the person is at risk of persecution in their home country.