The Socialist Unity Network

After seven years Cambridge postman still waiting for asylum

Nick Savage


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.”


April 2004


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