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Russia’s Karasin: Moscow’s reaction to developments in Georgia was adequate

By Tea Mariamidze
Wednesday, July 3
Deputy Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation, Grigory Karasin, said that Moscow’s reaction to developments in Tbilisi was harsh but adequate.

Russian diplomat’s comment referred to the anti-Russian rallies in Georgia and in response, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ban on direct flights with Georgia.

Karasin told Kommersant Daily that Russia hopes its reaction to the anti-Russian campaign in Georgia has brought to reason those seeking to earn political points.

“They seem to have forgotten in Georgia that Russia has its idea of honor and dignity. We are not in the habit of swallowing impudence and threats toward our nationals,” he said.

Russian Deputy Minister said Moscow has to anticipate possible risks in advance and block them. However, he added that Russia will spare no effort to establish “adequate relations” with Georgia.

“Our two nations are patient and wise enough to promote constructive approaches,” he noted.

Karasin said all the positive things in the Georgian-Russian relations that have been generated through joint efforts starting in 2012 were exposed to jeopardy, adding the new atmosphere was only beginning to work for the benefit of our nations and bear fruit when the “radicals” appeared.

He linked the recent developments in Georgia to ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili’s “school,” referring to the opposition party United National Movement.

“They have driven the situation back to the deadlock of hostility and confrontation,” he added.

Regarding the travel ban, the Russian diplomat said it is about hundreds of thousands of Russian tourists, adding Moscow cannot expose them to “risks.”

“We cannot expose them to risks from all sorts of hooligans, the more so as certain political forces are fanning this hostility…It is the task of the state to protect people’s security and calmness in any part of the world,” he said.

However, he underlined Russians are free to decide whether they want to go to Georgia, adding the ban is temporary.

Karasin said Moscow expects normalization of the situation in Georgia.

“We are waiting for the normalization of the situation in Georgia; we want to see that the anti-Russian campaign is over and our citizens are not at risk,” he added.

Russian Deputy FM noted Russia was about to abolish visa regime for Georgians but stressed the sides “have to wait for a better time.”

Sergi Kapanadze, member of the opposition party European Georgia said Karasin’s statements are not surprising.

The MP says during the recent days, various Russian officials have made a lot of insulting and inadequate statements.

“It is not surprising that these people, who are in agony, make such statements, which include threats as well,” he said.

Georgia cut diplomatic ties with Russia after the August 2008 war, which left Georgia’s Abkhazia and South Ossetia occupied by the northern neighbor.

Since 2012, Russia’s Karasin and Georgian PM’s envoy in relations with Russia, Zurab Abashidze have been holding meetings in Prague to discuss mutual topics.

Karasin also participates in Geneva International Discussions, attended by the de facto authorities of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Russia and the Georgian government, where developments in the occupied territories are discussed.