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Georgian citizens advised not to visit Russia

By Messenger Staff
Thursday, June 16
On June 12, Georgia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs made a statement according to which it was not recommended for Georgian citizens to travel to Russia. The next day Deputy Minister Nino Kalandadze said that it was not an official statement but only advice. Regardless of how it is dressed, such a warning gives ground to suggest that relations between the two countries are getting worse.

The 'advice' was triggered by incidents of ethnic Georgians being attacked in Russia. In particular the case of June 5 when Georgian citizen Gela Bliadze was attacked and killed near his flat in Moscow at night. The Russian police quickly confirmed that he was killed because of his Georgian ethnicity.

Such a warning is not enough of course to secure the safety of Georgia's citizens in Russia already. According to unofficial data there are around 1 million Georgians legally or illegally residing in Russia and earning their living there. The warning is a preventive step taken by officials but this statement only targets tourists and short term visitors. It does not seem to address the many Georgians living and working in Russia who are feeling more and more threatened. Of course no statement can improve the situation on its own as real solutions are hard to come by between the two countries. There are no diplomatic relations between the countries and the situation is tense. Even the statement advising against traveling to the country could be seen as a provocative measure. Some think that such a warning is targeted at the short term visitors, because Georgians living in Russia already know the dangerous situation and adjust their way of life accordingly.

The situation in Russia has become quite menacing lately with a growing number of very serious nazi oriented movements lead by skin heads attacking any non Russian and Slavic people. Those under threat include people from the Caucasus, Central Asia and Africa. Russia only for Russians – this is their slogan. Almost 80% of their crimes are not investigated and offenders are neither detained nor punished. In the last few years there have been several cases of ethnic Georgians being killed in Russia, most of them are not properly investigated. Unfortunately anti Georgian propaganda spread by the Russian media yields dramatic results and only serves to damage the already fragile relations between the two countries.