Thursday, February 2

Russian businessmen in the Canary Islands demand protection from the outbreak of ‘Russophobia’

Some thirty Russian businessmen settled in the Canary Islands for years they have begun to suffer what is already called “Russophobia” after the start of Russia’s war against Ukraine ordered by President Vladimir Putin. So much so, that they have gone to the Russian Consulate in the Canary Islands expressing their fear of possible acts of “hate” and in anticipation that the “attacks they are suffering will increase”.

Some of these entrepreneurs have been victims of “insults” at the doors of their businesses and they have been marked as “accomplices of the invasion and the war” in Ukraine , as they have admitted to this newspaper. Others, on the other hand, have seen their clientele reduced and, therefore, their turnover, overnight, practically from the day after the beginning of the attacks and the entry of Russian troops into Ukraine.

The situation that some of these businessmen are going through, who to date have led a life of perfect integration between the community of Russian-speakers residing on the Islands and the Canarians, has become “insufferable”they comment.

Business owners are victims of “insults” and have seen their clientele and turnover reduced

Some of them, including restaurant owners in the south of Tenerife, have decided disconnecting even from the phone after constantly receiving “harassing or insulting calls”, they assure at the same time that they point out that they have considered until “close business” at least for a while.

In the Canary Islands there are just over 4,000 Russian citizens registered, of which 3,508 appear as of January 31, 2021 residing in the province of Santa Cruz de Tenerife (mainly Adeje and Arona) and 640 in Las Palmas. This is stated in the official statistics. However, from the Russian Consulate in the Canary Islands it is estimated that they may have settled in the archipelago between 8,000 and 9,000 citizens of Russian origin.

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However, only the Russian-speaking community in Tenerife reaches 20,000 people if those who are originally from the former republics integrated into the then Soviet Union and who began the process of independence at the beginning of the 90s of the last century are included.

All the businessmen with whom this newspaper has spoken, without exception, have done so with great caution and have asked not to be identified. They fear that reactions against them could increase due to a conflict that most of them reject: “No one who can be right in the head could agree to a war, not this one that is taking place in the very heart of Europe, nor any another conflict that takes place in another part of the world”.

However, they do not feel free to publicly express their opinion in this way, as is the case in their native country, for fear that they may be pointed out by other compatriots who make up the Russian community on the islands. Even one of these businesswomen comments that there are families that are divided and that they have stopped talking to each other, not just now but for years, when the conflict arose in the separatist region of Donbas in Ukraine about eight years ago.

Another businessman stated that in some social networks they have appeared calls to “occupy or burn our homes” or “boycott our businesses”.

“Look please, I don’t want to talk about this. I can’t talk, it’s not the time,” said the person in charge of a cafeteria in Adeje, who was shown by stress to be one of the victims of this “harassment” suffered by members of a large community from Eastern Europe who used to lead a normal life and who now prefer to “get away” from any focus for fear of a violent escalation.

These entrepreneurs have contacted the Consulate of Russia in the Canary Islands transferring the attacks they are suffering and to ask for mediation before the Spanish authorities. Thus, they have asked the consul to send a letter to the Superior Headquarters of the National Police Corps to inform them of the incidents and “request protection.”

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The honorary consul of Russia, Gonzalo Parada Santanahas confirmed the concern that these businessmen have, pointing out that he is indeed aware of at least thirty incidents that have occurred, at the same time that he has clarified that his position “has nothing to do with the Russian Government, the consuls Fees We are almost like an NGO, which resolves some procedures of the citizens of a certain country in the place where they now reside, but little else·.

Santana stop not only corroborates the incidents but also ensures that this week he will hold a meeting with some of these businessmen to discuss this matter. “I ask you to be calm, not to confront in any case the people who may instigate you and to file the corresponding complaint with the Police if you suffer incidents,” he commented.

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