After seven years Cambridge postman still waiting for asylum
Seven years ago today (13th April) Cambridge postal worker Boris Lidovski
arrived in the UK from Russia but he is still waiting for the Home Office to
sort out his application to stay in the country. He has received massive support
locally and nationally and the Boris Lidovski campaign is determined to keep
campaigning on his behalf.
Just days after his arrival Boris lodged an application for asylum. He had fled
Russia after receiving threats and beatings from Mafiosos for having failed to
pay protection money. Like many other Russians, Boris had no confidence in a
corrupt Russian police force to give him protection.
Four and a half years later the Home Office turned down Boris’s
application. Another eighteen months passed by before his appeal against that
decision was heard and refused. In response, the “Boris Lidovski Must
Stay” campaign was set up in August of last year by members of
Boris’s trade union, the Communication Workers Union, and by members of
Cambridge and District Trades Union Council.
“Our argument is straightforward,” said campaign spokesperson Nick
Savage. “Boris has been living here so long that it’s not reasonable
to remove him to Russia. He’s hard-working, he’s not been in trouble
with the law, and he’s made a life for himself in this country. In Russia,
there’s nothing for him to go back to.”
Since Boris was told last year that his appeal had been unsuccessful, he has
been living in a state of limbo. “From one day to the next I do not know
if I am going to be detained in preparation for removal to Russia, or whether
the Home Office will use its discretion to allow me to stay. The constant stress
is taking a toll on my health. The Home Office just doesn’t seem to
care,” said Boris. “I get a lot of support from local people and
from people where I work. I’m very grateful for that. But it’s not a
substitute for the Home Office recognising my dilemma and finally agreeing to
give me permission to stay.”
Since the campaign was set up the demand that Boris should be allowed to remain
in this country has been backed by 23 local trade union branches, four MPs, two
Euro-MPs, Cambridge Constituency Labour Party, Cambridge City Council, and
two thousand individual signatories to the campaign’s petition.
At the close of last year Boris’s supporters were hopeful that the then
Immigration Minister Beverley Hughes was going to grant Boris leave to remain.
In that month Cambridge City Council passed a motion in support of Boris staying
in the UK, and Boris’s constituency MP met with Beverley Hughes to argue
the case for Boris. But there has been no progress since then. And the recent
resignation of Beverley Hughes has deprived the campaign of a contact in the
Home Office who had a personal knowledge of the case.
“When the campaign was set up, we thought that it would all be over in a
few months,” said Nick Savage, “but now we’re settled in for a
long slog. Obviously, we want Boris to be given permission to stay as quickly as
possible. But if we have to campaign for another year, or even longer, then
we’re all set for that.”