Deportation averted for vocal Putin critic who feared return to Russia

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OTTAWA — Supporters of a scientist who fears political retribution if deported to Russia say she has been granted a temporary reprieve.

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May says Elena Musikhina, an outspoken opponent of the Putin government, has been granted a two-year permit to stay in Canada.

May says it means Musikhina and her husband, who faced removal from Canada early next month, will now have time to apply for permanent residency.

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.

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 have failed.

The Canadian Press