Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors

Russian Border Guards Permanently Banned A Yalta Scientist from Entering Crimea

Гурій Корнільєв

Guriy Kornil’yev, a scientist from Yalta, was permanently banned entry to Crimea by Russian border guards.

His 76-aged mother who needs care is still in the occupied peninsula.

Mr. Guriy Kornil’yev, PhD (Biology), denied in writing a Russian passport in 2014, once Crimea was occupied. He has been living in Yalta, together with his aged mother, for all these 10 years. The occupiers issued him a Crimea residence permit. Thanks to this document the scientist might live in the peninsula with a valid Ukrainian foreign passport. The passport validity is to expire in June 2024. To extend its validity Guriy left for Georgia on April 15, 2024, in order to have his passport processed by the Consulate of Ukrainian Embassy.

When checking in for an international flight in the Airport of Sochi, Russian border guards dropped the scientist a hint that he might be denied re-entering the Russian Federation due to his reluctance to obtain a Russian citizenship. According to the Crimean, he was sure that this had been a kind of psychological pressure, and he would be allowed to return home to Crimea.

After Guriy had been extended a validity of Ukrainian foreign passport in Georgia, he tried to return to Crimea, flying from Georgia to the Russian Federation, the Sheremetyevo Airport, via Armenia.

When on April 22 Guriy arrived at the Sheremetyevo Airport of Moscow, he together with other Ukrainian citizens had to undergo so called “filtration”. Once Guriy passed it, he was permanently banned from entering the Russian Federation territory by the Russian border guards, that meant an entry ban to the occupied Crimea. As the scientist does not possess a Russian passport, he can’t return home now. Arguments that Guriy had left for Georgia for one week to extend the Ukrainian document validity and his aged mother who needed care, still lived in Crimea, had no effect on the Russians. However, the occupiers refused to confirm the entry ban in writing.

As reported by the scientist, he and all other people with Ukrainian passports were subject to several check rounds. First, the Ukrainians had to fill in a questionnaire, and signed a polygraph test consent form, then the border guards questioned them verbally. The questionnaire consists of 35 questions, including information inquiries on all relatives in Ukraine and any connections and contacts with Ukrainian governmental and military officials.

Among the questions were “Do you support the SVO[1]?” and “Do you support the policy of Ukrainian state leadership?” Guriy claims that in his questionnaire he pointed out that he did not support the “SVO”, but supported the policy of Ukrainian state leadership, and commented that the last question seemed to be too general and unclear for him. After filling in the questionnaire all people with Ukrainian passports were told to have their fingers and palm prints taken. Those Ukrainians who were later banned for entering, were additionally DNA sampled. The border guards alluded that those who did not agree on all these checks would not be allowed to enter the Russian Federation.

In addition, according to Guriy, all Ukrainians were demanded to present their laptops and mobiles for content check. Having checked the questionnaire and the mobile, the FSB men had several conversations with the scientist, with a psychological pressure applied. For instance, he was demanded to explain reasons for rejecting the Russian citizenship, with a statement that this testified his anti-Russian position and might explicitly prove that “he is waiting for the Ukrainian Armed Forces in Crimea”. During this conversation the Crimean was also asked “Whose is Crimea?”, and he answered that pursuant to the international law Crimea is a territory of Ukraine.

Guriy said that having heard this answer, a FSB man stated that with such a civic position the scientist “has nothing to do in the RF territory”. In addition, the FSB man reacted negatively that Guriy, though he was born in the Russian Federation and lived in the “Russian speaking Crimea”, got the second university degree in the “Ukrainian Language and Literature”. After this intense conversation, Guriy was informed that he was permanently banned on entry to the Russian Federation, though he was not handed any written confirmation of this ban.

That day, about 50 other people with Ukrainian passports from different flights were not allowed to enter the RF territory. All these people were sent back from the Moscow airport by free return flights to the foreign cities they had arrived from. Mr. Kornil’yev was returned to the airport of Yerevan by the flight of the same air line he had arrived in.

It should be reminded that the persecution of the scientist for his civic position started several years ago.

Mr. Guriy Kornil’yev has devoted many years of his life to the study of plant biochemistry and worked in the Nikitskiy Botanical Gardens before the occupation. In 2016, he was dismissed from this position because of his pro-Ukrainian civic position.

According to the scientist, five years after his dismissal he managed to get a job as an engineer at the MAGARACH Institute of Viticulture and Winemaking. There he was told that due to his “foreign” citizenship he could not work at a position of researcher. The scientist knows that his employment was a reason for a constant FSB pressure on the Institute administration since he “might spy” for Ukraine though his work had no relation to the classified information or defence sector. Ultimately, in February 2024, upon the demand of the MAGARACH Institute administration, Guriy had to resign from his job.

At the moment the scientist lives in Kyiv, where his friends have helped him to find a room in the hostel and shared their belongings.

[1] Russian acronym for Special Military Operation

Scroll to Top