Thursday, June 6, 2024

Both Riyadh and Moscow Make It More Difficult for Muslims from Russia to Make the Haj but Keep the Russian Quota at 25,000

Paul Goble

            Staunton, June 1 – While the Saudi-established quota for Muslims from the Russian Federation remains unchanged at 25,000, both Riyadh and Moscow have tightened the rules for those who want to go, with the Saudis requiring a special haj visa and the Russian authorities allowing only those with biometric passports to get one.

            Those restrictions are unlikely to lessen the demand among the Muslims of the Russian Federation for making the haj, but they will make it more difficult and more expensive given that this year as in the past a majority of Russian hajis will come from the North Caucasus with most of those coming from Dagestan alone.

            In reporting this, the Kavkaz-Uzel provides a useful set of statistics on the number of Russia’s Muslims who have made the pilgrimage since 1990. (Before perestroika, only a handful of them were allowed to go; and some years not a single Muslim from the USSR made the required visit to Mecca.) (

            Below are the figures for the number of hajis 1500 went from Russia in 1990, a figure that rose to 3,000 in 2000 and then jumped to 18,000 in 2007. In 2015, the Saudis set a quota of 16,400; and then in 2017, they rose it to 20,500. In 2020, under pressure from Moscow, the Saudis upped this quota to 25,000.

            In 2021, because of the pandemic, the Saudis allowed only those living in Saudi Arabia to make the haj. In 2021, when covid ebbed, they introduced a new quota for Muslims from Russia of 11.318; and then in 2022, Riyadh raised the quota for Russians back to 25,000 where it has remained ever since.


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