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Russian невозвращенцы
Romanization nevozvrashchentsy
Literal meaning those who did not come back

Nevozvrashchentsy (plural form, singular is nevozvrashchenets; Russian: невозвращенцы, literally a "nonreturnees") is the Russian term for citizens of the USSR who refused to return to their country from the trips abroad.

Origin of the term[edit]

This term was coined in 1929, following the resolution of the Central Executive Committee of the USSR "Declaring outlaws all citizens of the USSR who escaped abroad and joined the enemies of proletariat and peasants." or more commonly known as "The law about Nevozvrashchentsy". People, who escaped or attempted to escape, were, if captured, subject to a sentence varying from 10 years of Gulag to death penalty.[1]

After the death of Joseph Stalin in 1953, defectors were usually convicted for treason in absentia.


  1. ^ Article 58 of the Penal Code of RSFSR, Section "1a"