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Interior Minister: Russian MP Gavrilov won’t be allowed to Georgia

By Tea Mariamidze
Monday, July 1
Georgian Interior Minister Giorgi Gakharia claims that Russian Parliamentarian Sergey Gavrilov, whose last visit sparked large-scale protests in Georgia, will not be allowed to enter the country.

Gakharia made the statement in response to Gavrilov’s statement that he plans to revisit Georgia, as a traveler.

“If Russian MP Sergei Gavrilov will decide to arrive in Georgia, he will not be allowed to enter the country,” the minister said briefly when the journalists asked him to comment about the topic.

Last week Gavrilov told Rusian media that he does not rule out the possibility of paying a personal visit to Georgia again to implement the law on Pilgrimage, which has recently been adopted by the Russian Parliament.

“We have adopted the Law on Pilgrimage and would like to try it in Georgia to travel to holy places,” he said.

The Russian MP noted he was not going to arrive in Georgia soon, as he does not want to serve as a reason for provocations.

“I believe the situation will calm down,” Gavrilov added.

After Gakharia’s comment that Gavrilov will not be let in Georgia, Russian Duma member said the Interior Ministry supported extremists and their anti-Russian statements.

“The position of Georgia’s Interior Ministry de facto means that they share extremists’ ideological statements that fan anti-Russian and anti-democratic sentiments... The Georgian Interior Ministry’s actions only once again confirm that Putin’s measures were right and effective when he cautioned Russian tourists from vacationing on the territory of Georgia,” he told Russian media outlet TASS, referring to the travel ban of the Russian President Vladimir Putin, which prohibits direct flights with Georgia from July 8.

“I seriously planned to go to Georgia, together with my family and kids, to show them around the country in the framework of the law on pilgrimage adopted by the State Duma,” he added.

Gavrilov also reminded June 20-21 developments in Georgia, when he and several other Russian MPs were participating in the Inter-parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy (IAO) session chaired by Gavrilov.

To note, during the session, Gavrilov addressed the IAO participants from the chair of the Georgian Parliament Speaker, which angered Georgian opposition MPs and protesters outside the building, who tried to enter the parliament, which escalated the situation between the demonstrators and the police.

Around 240 people were injured while up to 300 were arrested. Later, a decision was taken to wrap up the session and for the Russian delegation to leave the country. This was followed by the resignation of the Georgian parliament Speaker Irakli Kobakhidze, also Putin’s travel ban on flights with Georgia and tightening of Georgian wine export procedures to Russia.

Gavrilov noted that the Georgian leadership supported anti-Russian statements voiced during protests in Tbilisi after demonstrators tried to disrupt the session of IAO. He stressed Georgia should apologize.

“Without apologies [from Georgia], it is impossible to continue expanding relations in the social, cultural and tourism spheres,” he said and added that “if Georgia adhered to its commitments made to the international community and to the European course, it should immediately apologize to the Russian leadership and to the IAO for disregarding its international commitments on ensuring security at this international forum.”