Maxim Efimov, Russian Human Rights Activist, Granted Asylum in Estonia

Maxim Efimov, head of the Youth Human Rights Group of Karelia, has been granted political asylum in Estonia. As UCSJ mentioned in our Letter to President Putin on Behalf of Maxim Efimov, Efimov fled from Russia after getting charged by local prosecutors for publishing an article that compared the Orthodox Church to the largest leading political party. In addition to getting charged, his private apartment was searched, his personal belongings seized and the Petrozavodsk City Court issued a decree to put him in a mental hospital by force after a dubious psychiatric examination. After his departure, Efimov was declared to be on the federal wanted list.

In the meantime he had applied for political asylum in many countries, including the U.S., Ireland, Estonia and Sweden. Estonia was the only country to grant it.

Efimov is quoted as writing, "Estonian President Toomas Ilves shook my hand and said that he was happy his country gave me temporary political asylum, since they respect freedom of speech in Estonia."