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Tbilisi tells citizens to refrain from traveling to Russia

By Mzia Kupunia
Monday, June 13
Following the allegations of Tbilisi over Russian special agencies plotting terrorist attacks on Georgian territory, the Georgian Foreign Ministry has called on the Georgian citizens to refrain from traveling to Russia. The statement came out after the murder of a Georgian citizen in Russia. 49-year-old Gela Bliadze was beaten to death in Moscow on June 5, Georgian officials are reporting. The Georgian Foreign Ministry has claimed that Bliadze was murdered because of his “ethnic belonging.”

“The murder happened in the country where human rights defenders, journalists and advocates are being killed in the streets and prisons,” Georgian Foreign Ministry statement reads “these crimes are taking place on the territory of the country which pursues a policy of state terrorism – plans, funds and carries out terrorist acts on the territory of a sovereign state,” the Ministry says, citing the detention of two “terrorist groups” in Georgia on June 2 and 6 as a proof for its allegation.

Tbilisi has demanded a “comprehensive investigation” of the murder case and punishment of the perpetrators. “The Georgian Foreign Ministry calls on the Georgian citizens to refrain from traveling to the Russian Federation, as their presence in this country is not safe,” the Ministry’s statement reads.

Moscow has repeatedly dismissed Tbilisi’s accusations, calling them “predictable”. “We consider that it is an exercise in information-propaganda work. At the same time we said that if the Georgian side has serious facts, data and figures, we, as a responsible state are ready to examine those facts, study them and give some comments on this matter,” Russia’s Deputy FM Grigory Karasin told RIA Novosti news agency. The official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Alexander Lukashevich has denied Georgian official’s claims over terrorism attacks and accused Tbilisi of attempts to “write off Tbilisi’s domestic and international failures to Russia’s intrigues.”

Meanwhile Tbilisi has reported another incident in Georgia’s breakaway region of Abkhazia. According to the Foreign Ministry, on June 10 the Russian soldiers and Abkhazian gang members entered the village of Pichori in Gali region and physically assaulted the local population and detained several persons. Georgian officials named the identities of four detainees – Tamaz and Temur Orzhanias, Gogi Shamatava and Mamuka Baghbaia. “With such provocative actions Russia carries on escalating tension in Georgia’s occupied regions. Such facts clearly prove that Russia’s occupational regime violates basic human rights and freedoms,” the Foreign Ministry said in its statement.

The de facto Abkhazian authorities however reported about a special operation held in the village of Pichori, carried out by the de facto Security Service and the Russian Border Police deployed in Abkhazia. According to the information agency Apsnypress, the de facto authorities found firearms, bullets, grenades and explosives in the village, as well as equipment for preparing and using narcotic substances. The de facto law enforcers said they arrested three persons in Pichori.

Against the background of counter-accusations between Tbilisi and Moscow, the de facto Central Election Commission of Abkhazia announced that the so called snap Presidential Elections will be held on August 26. The so called Presidential candidates can be nominated from June 27 to July 17 according to the calendar issued by the de facto Abkhazian CEC. By July 7 the de facto CEC will publish a list of the election districts. The election precincts will have to inform the voters about the date and the place of voting by August 16. So called snap Presidential Elections were announced in Georgia’s breakaway region after the former leader of the region, Sergey Baghapsh died in Moscow on May 29 after a lung operation.