Bloggings On Political Asylum


Jason Dzubow

Former U.S. Marine Seeks Asylum in Russia

A former Marine who claims to have exposed clandestine U.S. support for the Republic of Georgia in its 2008 war
with Russia has requested political asylum in Russia.  U.S. citizen Patrick Downey
first sought asylum in Ireland, where his case was denied–as he puts
it–by Ireland’s first ever Jewish Minister for Justice, Equality and
Defense.  He then “fled” to Russia (after visiting the U.S. for his
brother’s wedding), where his asylum case is currently pending.

Patrick Downey (right) is seeking asylum in Russia.

Pravda reports that while living in Georgia in 2007 and teaching English to Georgian billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili,
Mr. Downey “obtained documents” indicating that a U.S.-controlled bank
transferred $12 million to Mr. Ivanishvili.  Mr. Ivanishvili, in turn,
used the money to fund “anti-Russian activities” prior to and during the
Russian-Georgian war.  Mr. Downey tried to publicize this “sensational
material” in the U.S., but no one was interested.  However, his
activities supposedly brought him to the attention of the U.S.
government, which gave him the code name “Trouble Man” and tried to
“neutralize” him.  Mr. Downey told Pravda, “I began to feel that it was
simply dangerous for me to be in the U.S.”

Hence, he fled to Ireland and now Russia.

While I must admit that I am skeptical of Mr. Downey’s claims (and I
am not thrilled by his antisemitism), the fact that he is currently
receiving publicity from a Russian newspaper is significant.  On October
1st, Mr. Ivanishvili’s political party won parliamentary elections in
Georgia, and he is likely to become the country’s new Prime Minister. 
As such, the timing of the article about Mr. Downey–and his claims of a
secret anti-Russian alliance between the U.S. and Georgia–has broader

Is Russia trying to intimidate Georgia?  Is it trying to send a
signal to the United States to keep away?  Is Pravda simply writing an
interesting story about an American seeking asylum in Russia?  I have no
idea.  But it seems to me, if the Russian government is trying to send
some type of message by publicizing Mr. Downey’s case, the message is
not a friendly one.  

It will be interesting to see what the Russian government does with Mr. Downey.  Russia grants less than 5%
of asylum cases, so if his case is approved, it might indicate more
trouble ahead for Russian-Georgian and Russian-U.S. relations.  As for
Mr. Downey, if his case is granted, his hopes are the same as those of
other asylum seekers around the world: “I will live!  I will get
married.  I do not want to fight, do not want to constantly be afraid.  I
want a family and a home.  I hope that this is what I will get.”

Originally posted on the Asylumist:

About The Author

Jason Dzubow's practice focuses on immigration law, asylum, and appellate litigation. Mr. Dzubow is admitted to practice law in the federal and state courts of Washington, DC and Maryland, the United States Courts of Appeals for the Third, Fourth, Eleventh, and DC Circuits, all Immigration Courts in the United States, and the Board of Immigration Appeals. He is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and the Capital Area Immigrant Rights (CAIR) Coalition. In June 2009, CAIR Coalition honored Mr. Dzubow for his Outstanding Commitment to Defending the Rights and Dignity of Detained Immigrants.In December 2011, Washingtonian magazine recognized Dr. Dzubow as one of the best immigration lawyers in the Washington, DC area; in March 2011, he was listed as one of the top 25 legal minds in the country in the area of immigration law. Mr. Dzubow is also an adjunct professor of law at George Mason University in Virginia.

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