From Kazan with love: how a KFU's student from the USA asked journalists in perfect Russian to go away
Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland sent a protest note concerning the deportation of a Kazan University’s student to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russia Federation
25-year-old New Jersian Yan Michael Bonner left Kazan on the night of 27 to 28 May under police escort. Earlier the citizen of the USA, who did an internship at Kazan Federal University, was caught in violation of the migration legislation and 'condemned' to a fine equal to 2,000 rubles and faced deportation. Realnoe Vremya managed to find out the foreigner did not admit his guilt, and the State Department blamed the Russian authority for incapability to provide people of the USA with basic protection.
Overseas polyglot found his wife in Mari El
American Yan Bonner visited Tatarstan for the first time in 2010. Having arrived in Russia using a tourist visa, he visited Kazan, Chelny, Yelabuga and got a document of Tatar Humanitarian and Pedagogical University that certifies that the student knows Russian as a foreign language. Since then the American was in the republic many times. Judging by his photos, he alternated his trips to Tatarstan, Ukraine and the Caucasus with visits to his motherland. It is known the American even got married and spoke almost perfect Russian. Moreover, he was learning the Ukrainian and Chechen languages and was interested in the Tatar language. He made many friends and was not different from them.
In his interview to BIM-radio, Yan Bonner told he was not just a student in Russia: once he taught English at a linguistic university in Pyatigorsk. He met his future spouse Tatiana in Mari El when he just came here. Bonner said cold weather and no heating at the end of September at home, when it's cold, was Kazan's the only disadvantage. The foreigner also appreciated a tolerant attitude of the Kazan people to other religions and paid Tatarstan women of all ages a compliment for their well groomed appearance, though, initially, he was surprised with 'made-up grandmas wearing heels'.
Last time Mr Bonner came to Russia using a student visa, which was given from 30 October 2015 to 31 August 2016. He had been given this type of visa many times. 'He had been studying here for almost 4 years at the Faculty of International Relations. He was to defend his thesis in June. Teachers say he was a usual student who did not have problems. There were difficulties neither in his studies nor communication,' head of KFU's press service Kamill Gareyev informed Realnoe Vremya.
The student from the USA could not graduate from the university: the re-organising Migration Service caught him in breaking a law on 13 May. According to the statement, Mr Bonner 'works as English tutor in his free time without having a permission to teach or work.
'Resident's Judgement Day
On the same day, that is to say, on 13 May, the American went on trial in the Vakhitov District Court and was found guilty of an Unlawful Exercise by a Foreign Citizen or Stateless Person of Labour Activities in the Russian Federation (Article 18.10 of Code of the Russian Federation on Administrative Offenses). Offender was liable to a fine from 2,000 to 5,000 rubles with or without an administrative expulsion from the Russian Federation for this violation. The husband of the Russian girl faced a minimum fine but the Vakhitov Court decided to expulse him.
'The foreigner tried to challenge the decision. During the court hearing, the foreigner explained he just helped children learn English and did not receive money. But the Superior Court of the Republic of Tatarstan did not change the decision,' the press secretary of the Vakhitov Court Tatiana Salova comments the situation.
Our newspaper was told in the Administration of the Federal Migration Service in Tatarstan that the story should not be politicised. Over 330 decisions on the expulsion of foreign citizens have been made for different violations since the beginning of 2016. In particular, 150 citizens of Uzbekistan, 45 citizens of Tajikistan, three people who came from Afghanistan, Serbia and Moldova and one citizen of China were deported. As the press secretary of the Administration of the Federal Migration Service in Tatarstan Aleksey Pashin explained to Realnoe Vremya, the punishment doesn't limit to a forced expulsion only – the offender won't be able to visit the country legally during five years.
After the hearing, the offender was sent to a detention centre where he was waiting for his expulsion for two weeks. Vice-Consul of the the US Embassy to Russia Emmy Tewkesbury visited the detention centre. Meanwhile, Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland sent a protest note to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russia Federation and noted that the story of the KFU's student from America was an illustrative example of the incapability of the Russian authority to provide the citizens of the USA with basic protection… Realnoe Vremya' sources suppose such protectors mean Yan Bonner is not just an ordinary foreign student.
On the night to 28 May, Yan Bonner and his wife flew from Kazan to Moscow, and checked in for a flight to New York on Saturday. The guest of the capital of Tatarstan left the city handcuffed and accompanied by a law officer and journalists of one Kazan TV channel. Journalist's attempt to talk to the offender faced both simple words and strong language. The TV channel decided to air this moment of the conversation in which the foreigner speaks perfect Russian and rudely asks to go away.
Our correspondent managed to talk to the deported guy via social networks. He did not want to talk but was not rude: 'Enough already. Why do you want to write about me? Please, leave my wife, friends and me in peace'. Moreover, our correspondent had a call from the USA. A well Russian speaking incognito strongly advised not to write about Bonner any more.
KFU says the citizen of the USA wrote his thesis about the history of Chechnya. But now he won't see his Kazan diploma. There is no possibility to defend the thesis at a distance. 'Alternatively, he can ask for his transcription and finish his studies in another country,' the press secretary said to Realnoe Vremya. We have not received an answer of the Embassy of the USA to Russia in Moscow yet.
32-year-old Kaul Lihau Jackson was deported from Kazan two years earlier. He represented American Councils on International Education Non-commercial Organisation. He was married a Russian woman. The Court decided real purposes of his visit did not correspond to the purposes stated in his student visa.
In May 2015, Wyeth Ford, a graduate of the Columbia University who headed the Department for Investment Attraction in the Investment Development Agency under Linar Yakupov, left Kazan. By the way, Ford also had a Russian wife and was caught in Unlawful Exercise by a Foreign Citizen or Stateless Person of Labour Activities. Workers of special services found out in 2010-2011 he taught English to the children in an elite Kazan school No.19 without permissions and received money. In 2014, this fact was a reason to cancel his residence permit. Mr Ford could not cancel this challenge and left the country avoiding forced deportation.