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In the 4th episode of the 4th season of House of Cards Donald Blythe follows Claire's advice and decides to send Igor Milkin (at the time on a plane circling over the North Sea) to China.

What makes me wonder is the legality of this move. It's understood that he can be granted asylum in the United States. I believe that he can be also sent back to Russia. However I don't understand how can he be sent to a third-party country, without asking him for permission and probably against his will.

To me this seems to be in conflict with all international (and perhaps also US) laws and I don't believe Blythe would agree on anything illegal.

  • May be they are going to ask for landing for refueling. But I have a real doubts about the geographical knowledges of the producers of this movie. I think it's not less than 5000 km between North sea and Beijing. – Anton Jan 25 '17 at 17:31
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The few scenes we see of Igor Milkin, he is kept in the dark about the global plan. He hasn't been in control of his own situation since he requested asylum and landed in the US.

You're right that Milkin should usually only be accepted by the US or sent back to Russia. However, it's not impossible that Milkin is forced to agree by the circumstances of his fleeing of Russia.

"Your asylum request is denied. We are either sending you to China, or sending you back to Russia. Your choice."

We do not see a scene in which this is said. I'm just providing an example here.

But Milkin is trying to escape Russia. It's plausible that he, when realizing he's flying to China, does not complain about it because he knows the alternative is being sent back to Russia. From Milkin's position, we can conclude that anywhere would be better than Russia.


It's not unprecedented for refugees to be turned away but not sent back. The recent years of migrations towards Europe is a good example, as the refugees were sent to different countries based on who wanted to take them in.

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