TBILISI, DFWatch – A Russian Duma member calls Georgia’s lifting of visa rules for Russians propaganda.
Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili said in his annual speech to parliament Tuesday night that he would drop visa requirements for all Russian citizens. Today, citizens of Russia’s northern Caucasus republics can visit Georgia without a visa for up to 90 days.
Saakashvili signed a decree the same day, and the visa-free travel, which the president explained as a friendly gesture to attrack Russian business, is already in force.
But First Deputy Chairman of the International Committee of the Russian Duma, Konstantin Kosachev, believes this is nothing more than propaganda, Russian online media quote him saying.
“This initiative is only propaganda action, designed to create an impression outside of Georgia that Saakashvili’s policy toward Russia is a policy in respect of its powers, and not citizens,” he said.
To normalize relations between the two countries, he Kosachev thinks it is necessary for Georgia to admit that it took incorrect steps during the Russian-Georgian war in 2008.
Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that visa requirements for Georgians who want to visit Russia will not be canceled, but thet Russia will retain civilized relations with Tbilisi when it comes to the entry and exit of citizens.