Return to Home Page

American Seeks Asylum in Russia

‘They will come from the West by ship to St Petersburg to be baptised’.

St Seraphim of Vyritsa (+ 1948)

With the two key players in the Wikileaks affair virtually imprisoned, Julian Assange holed up in the Ecuadoran Embassy in London and Bradley Manning held in the USA for two years without trial, now former US Marine Patrick Downey has appealed to President Putin for political asylum. He says that he faces severe punishment in the USA because of his intention to publish material about American support for the ex-Georgian leader, the US-trained lawyer Mikhail Saakashvili, and for the 2008 Georgian invasion of South Ossetia.

Downey used to work at the American embassy in Georgia, ​​but said that he was disappointed in the Foreign Service, so then he took a job as an English tutor to Georgian oligarch Bidzina Ivanishvili and moved to Tbilisi. There, Downey obtained documents that led to the present problems in his life. The documents confirmed that the USA funded anti-Russian activities by Ivanishvili. A document dated 2007 stated that the World Bank for Reconstruction and Development, 60 percent of whose shares are owned by the USA, transferred 12 million USD to Ivanishvili’s bank account. The stated purpose of the transfer was structural development. A year later, in August 2008, American-trained Georgian troops went into South Ossetia, according to Downey, not without American financial aid, including the money transferred to Ivanishvili’s bank account.

Downey returned to the USA, he decided to make this information public, but faced strong opposition. The media flatly refused to publish the material. As a result, the government took interest in the former Marine and according to Downey, American special services tried to neutralise him. He observed: ‘I began to feel that it was simply dangerous for me to be in the USA. They removed the documents that I uploaded online, they blocked my videos on YouTube and they began to threaten me. Threats also came from Georgian sources, which demanded that I be quiet’. He tried to get political asylum in Ireland, but the authorities reacted belligerently to him staying there; he landed in jail and later they deported him.

He explained: ‘I didn’t want to be quiet, I wanted to tell the truth. However, because of that, I had to leave my home in New York, and, indeed, my country. I don’t want to say that the USA is an ‘evil empire’, but I’m asking for protection from the evil that’s stalking me’. In New York, Patrick left family, his parents and a pregnant sister. Now, that he’s in a foreign country, Downey’s tried to call home, but no one’s responding to his calls. On 21 September, Downey asked the Immigration Service for political asylum. Despite the fact that Russia hasn’t agreed to provide him with sanctuary, Downey said he felt supported even without official documents covered with seals, saying: ‘In Russia, I’ve met people who wanted to help. They’re ordinary people. I want to live here; I love this country and hope that it’ll protect me’.

Downey considers that there is no free press in his home country, noting: ‘In the USA there’s a taboo…you can’t write objectionable things about corporations or people close to the White House… it’s suppressed, at times, in a very harsh manner. A financial network rules our country and this is a real problem’.

Downey said, “I understand that if Russia gives me political asylum, I probably won’t be able to return home. Nevertheless, I’m ready for that, firstly, for the sake of the safety of my family, who, like me, wouldn’t be left alone if I stayed in the USA. I’m terribly hurt, I’m so far from home, but I don’t have another choice”. We passed a small church, Downey looked up at the domes, and that he wanted to accept Orthodoxy, saying: ‘This isn’t something that I just dreamed up. I’ve met a lot of really religious people who helped me incredibly. I became interested in your culture and religion. I started going to church. My desire isn’t fanciful; I just feel that I need it, that it’s mine, too’.

27 September 2012

Anton Frolov


  to top of page