Former Soviet Union

In Moscow and Kyiv, HIAS helps Jews and others from 43 countries receive protection and seek asylum or resettlement.


For most of its 127-year history, HIAS has assisted Jewish refugees and migrants from the area known as the Russian Empire, the USSR, and now the Newly-Independent States of the former Soviet Union.

The region's wars, revolutions and dictatorships of the last century forced millions of Jewish immigrants to other countries, and HIAS has helped them to escape persecution and find better lives.

During the last 20 years, HIAS assisted more than 400,000 Jews from the former Soviet Union in starting new lives in the United States.

The Former Soviet Union Today

The region's tumultuous history continues: after the fall of the USSR, unstable political, social, and economic conditions in many countries of the former Soviet Union have fed armed conflicts, civil strife, and extreme forms of nationalism and xenophobia. The fear that many Jews and other minorities have for the future continues to precipitate immigration. The region is also subject to a variety of sizable internal migratory movements, as well as migrations from problem areas in Asia and Africa.


HIAS monitors conditions in the region that affect emigration of Jews and other vulnerable groups, and brings specific problems to the attention of appropriate international and governmental organizations. Our offices in Moscow and Kyiv implement several specific programs providing refugees with much-needed information and legal assistance.


The HIAS Representative in Moscow liaises with the U.S. Embassy in Moscow and with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) providing training to refugee officers and working with the HIAS office in Washington to monitor migration processes.

The HIAS Moscow Representative also liaises with Jewish community leaders throughout the region, advising HIAS headquarters on migration trends and human rights conditions affecting Jews as well as refugees and asylum seekers throughout the Former Soviet Union.


Kyiv Legal Protective Services (LPS) is operated by HIAS under an agreement with UNHCR. The program provides protection and legal assistance in Kyiv and the surrounding region to asylum seekers and refugees from around the world. LPS also contributes to building a humane asylum system in Ukraine by training local judges, immigration and law-enforcement officials, and law students, and by developing legislative proposals and administrative regulations.

Specific legal, counseling and translation services provided by LPS are designed to aid refugees in applying for asylum in Ukraine, to assist UNHCR Ukraine with developing other durable solutions such as voluntary repatriation and resettlement in other countries, to intervene with local immigration and police authorities, and to represent those who are turning to Ukraine’s court system in their effort to receive asylum.