Russians flee to Dubai and the Maldives
As the West imposed sanctions on Russian oligarchs, destinations such as Dubai and the Maldives became safe havens for Russians looking to flee the country.
After noticing some yachts owned by Russian oligarchs in her Barcelona neighborhood, Alex Finley, a former officer of the CIA’s Directorate of Operations, created the hashtag #YachtWatch. “A number of them appear to be heading to the Maldives or the Seychelles, or they are already in the Arabian Sea near Dubai,” Finley told Yahoo News.
It’s not just the yachts; in early March, a tweet read, “It appears that Dubai will be the capital of Russia in exile.” Only in the last 24 hours, the emirate has been visited by Dmitry Medvedev’s RA-67226 aircraft (from Moscow), Andrey Kostin’s T7-SSM aircraft (from Cyprus), and Arkady Rotenberg (from the Maldives).”
Under the condition of anonymity, a Russian software developer explained his decision to seek refuge in Dubai until he decides where to go next. “I wanted to leave Russia as soon as possible, and Dubai was the best choice because flights to most of the destinations from Russia were cancelled,” he said. The destination provides a 90-day visa with few requirements. It was not at all difficult. I had everything I needed, including Covid tests, but they weren’t required. At the Dubai airport, a free test was made available. I’m not going to be able to live here. I just need some time to figure out where I want to go next.”
Russia retains its top spot among Maldives tourism source markets, with a market share of more than 14%. (as of March 13, 2022).
Following the European Union’s sanctions against Russian airlines, Azimuth Airlines is expanding its international network, with flights beginning March 15 from Mineralnye Vody in Russia to Dubai.
Emirates, Flydubai, and Air Arabia continue to fly to major Russian cities. Emirates flies daily between Moscow and Dubai, as well as St. Petersburg and Dubai.