The messenger logo

Georgia’s envoy to Russia says absence of diplomatic ties should not hinder visa free

By Messenger Staff
Friday, November 10
Georgia’s Special Envoy to Russia, Zurab Abashidze, says that suspended diplomatic relations with Russia should not act as an obstacle for Georgina-Russian visa liberalization.

Abashidze says Russian citizens are allowed to enter Georgia without visas for a year, and it depends on Russia to further simplify or cancel visas for Georgians.

The envoy claims that the issue of resuming diplomatic relations with Russia is not on the agenda for certain obvious reasons.

Russian Deputy FM, Grigori Karasin, says he does not rule out imposing visa-free travel for Georgians, but added that the absence of diplomatic relations between the countries serves as an obstacle.

Georgia has its demands for the restoration of diplomatic ties, and the demand concerns the occupation of 20% of Georgia’s land by Russia.

Russia continuously says that the territories under its occupation, referring to Abkhazia and Tskhinvali, are independent republics, yet the position is only shared by Venezuela, Nicaragua and Nauru.

Currently Russian citizens do not need to have a visa to come to Georgia, while Georgians need to obtain a visa to cross the Russian border.

Georgia unilaterally abolished visa requirements for Russian citizens in 2011, which was followed by Russia simplifying its visa requirements for Georgians in 2013.

If the country, which is under permanent pressure by Russia, made a decision for visa free travel, why it should be so difficult for them?

The fact is that Russia always tries to beneficially use all its levers and when taking a “constructive step,” tries to show it was their goodwill and an attempt “for peace.”

Even in case Russia abolishes visas for Georgia, Georgians consider that one day, the Russian government may easily take a decision to deport them from Russia, as they did in 2006.