Russians Flee Putin Regime Join Ukraine Refugees for Safety in Israel

ISRAEL (AFP) – The second Russian tanks rolled into Ukraine, Russian filmmakers Anna Shishova-Bogolyubova and Dmitry Bogolyubov knew they needed to go away Moscow.

“We were the next on the list,” the couple advised AFP of their borrowed flat in Rehovot, a quiet Israeli metropolis 20 kilometres (12 miles) south of Tel Aviv.

Once you’re on the listing of alleged “foreign agents”, you face a lifetime of “self-censorship or, sooner or later, prison”, stated Bogolyubov, who directed the German-financed 2019 documentary “Town of Glory”.

The movie portrays President Vladimir Putin’s use of references associated to the struggle towards Nazi Germany to determine his authority in Russian villages.

As its worldwide isolation has deepened, Moscow has come to view all films made with international financing with suspicion, together with documentaries, and the couple stated theirs was no exception.

“Over the past few years, we felt threatened. In the past few months in particular, people were spying on us and taking photographs on our film sets,” Shishova-Bogolyubova stated.

The couple determined to proceed working in Russia however, profiting from their Jewish ancestry, they obtained Israeli citizenship simply in case.

Israel’s Law of Return offers the best of citizenship to anybody with no less than one Jewish grandparent, a criterion that tens of 1000’s in each Russia and Ukraine meet.

Opposition to warfare

Since Russian troops invaded on February 24, practically 24,000 Ukrainians have fled to Israel, some however not all profiting from the legislation, in keeping with immigration ministry figures.

They have been joined by round 10,000 Russians, an Israeli immigration official advised AFP.

“Most of those are young graduates, from the urban middle class,” the official stated, asking to not be recognized.

Like the Bogolyubovs, Moscow-born linguist Olga Romanova had ready for the day when she not felt secure in Russia.

Moscow-born linguist Olga Romanova poses for an image at her son’s residence within the Israeli settlement of Maale Adumim within the West Bank on the outskirts of Jerusalem on March 29, 2022. (MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP by way of Getty Images)

She utilized for an Israeli passport after Putin’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in 2014.

“I always thought that one day I would join my children in Israel, but it was then that I realised that things were going wrong in Russia,” the 69-year advised AFP in her son’s home exterior Jerusalem surrounded by pictures of her grandchildren.

When the invasion began on the morning of February 24, “it was proof that I wanted to go away as shortly as doable.

“The war in Ukraine is incompatible with my way of thinking and my moral values. It makes me sick,” she stated, combating again the tears.

New residence or stopover?

The wave of immigration from Ukraine and Russia over the previous seven weeks is the most important Israel has seen because the early Nineteen Nineties when the collapse of the Soviet Union prompted a whole lot of 1000’s to hunt a brand new life on the shores of the Mediterranean.

“Here, we feel safe and we can sleep peacefully once more,” stated Shishova-Bogolyubova.

“My four-year-old daughter, who’s diabetic, is totally taken care of.

“But we don’t know if we will stay — that depends on our work. Right now, we just want to live for the moment and recover from our emotions. Afterwards, we will see.”

A lady holds up an anti-war signal studying in English “stop the war” and within the different hand a cartoon depicting Russia’s president Vladimir Putin as a cockroach being sprayed with insecticide, throughout a protest towards Russia’s army invasion of Ukraine, in Israel’s Mediterranean coastal metropolis of Tel Aviv on March 12, 2022. (JACK GUEZ/AFP by way of Getty Images)

Sergey, a violinist who requested to be referred to by a pseudonym for concern of retribution, left Moscow for Israel along with his pianist spouse and three younger youngsters however expects to maneuver on.

“I don’t know if we’ll stay here. We’ll probably go somewhere else,” he stated.

Even for many who qualify for citizenship, Israel is usually a terra incognita for brand new arrivals and nostalgia for Russia isn’t far under the floor.

Romanova, the linguist, discovered area in her 20 kilograms (44 kilos) of bags for simply two books, one a tutorial work, the opposite a novel by famed Russian novelist Mikhail Bulgakov which all the time accompanies her on her travels.

“I lost my country. It was stolen from me. It was taken by Putin and those KGB thugs,” she stated wistfully.

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