Author`s name Alex Naumov

Georgia to ease visa regime with Russia

Georgia intends to ease the visa entry regime with Russia, which was toughened after the termination of diplomatic relations between the neighboring states, the Kommersant newspaper says. The newspaper quotes a high-ranking source from the Georgian Ministry for Foreign Affairs, who stated that Russian citizens would be able to receive Georgian visas at border crossing stations, as it was practiced before.

The Georgian consulate office in Russia continues to work according to its usual schedule. Officials at the office said that there were no additional restrictions introduced for Russian citizens to obtain Georgian visas. A Russian citizen can receive an entrance visa to Georgia in any consulate office of Georgia in any country, including Russia. A person applying for the visa will only need to show an original invitation to visit the country.

We would like to remind that deputy minister for foreign affairs of Georgia, Grigol Vashadze, said on August 29 that Georgia was going to terminate its diplomatic relations with Russia in connection with Russia’s recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia on August 26. Georgia also toughened the visa regime for Russian citizens.

The issuing of Georgian visas to Russians was stopped at all checkpoints in Georgia on August 30. In accordance with an official note, the visas for citizens of the Russian Federation will be issued only at consulate offices and diplomatic missions of Georgia located abroad from September 8, 2008.

Entry visas to Georgia will be issued only at the submission of originals of invitations for the citizens of the Russian Federation, who visit Georgia to meet their family members, as well as for those, who visit the country with humanitarian and business purposes. Until recently, Russian citizens could obtain a Georgian visa at an airport of Tbilisi for the price of $20.

It is worthy of note that an official spokesman for the Russian Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Andrei Nesterenko, stated at a press conference that Russia could stop issuing visas to Georgian citizens. The official said that Georgia’s single-handed termination of diplomatic relations with Russia testified to violation of human rights, the rights of Russia-based Georgian citizens in this particular case.