The messenger logo

Russia considers facilitation of visa regime for Georgians

By Tea Mariamidze
Friday, October 21
Prime Minister's Special Representative for Relations with Russia Zurab Abashidze stated that Russia considers facilitation of visa regime for Georgian citizens. Abashidze made the statement after meeting Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin in Prague, Czech Republic on October 19.

“We were informed at the meeting that efforts are being made by Russian relevant agencies for further facilitation of visa regime with Georgia. Cancelation of the visa regime is not on the agenda, but if it is simplified, it would be a step forward,” Abashidze noted.

Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said that Russia is discussing visa simplification for the crews of Georgian air companies.

“The Russian and Georgian sides underlined the increased transport and air traffic between the two nations and highlighted the bilateral flow of passengers in the year exceeded 400 thousand people,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry said.

Moreover, the Ministry stated that after the elections held in Russia and Georgia, both sides are interested in continuing the dialogue.

“Both countries are interested to increase cooperation in trade, transport, cultural and humanitarian spheres,” the statement of Russia’s MFA reads.

Furthermore, during the Abashidze-Karasin meeting it was agreed that Russian and Georgian businessmen will meet next month in Tbilisi.

The meeting will be held under the auspices of the Chambers of Commerce of Russia and Georgia.

"As expected, Russian and Georgian businessmen will meet next month in Tbilisi and it will contribute to further strengthening of economic ties between the two countries", the Russian MFA informs, adding that for the last four years the result of normalization of bilateral relations provides “grounds for optimism”.

The Russian Foreign Ministry reports that the next meeting between Grigory Karasin and Zurab Abashidze will be held in early 2017.

The Abashidze-Karasin meetings are the only form of official relations with Russia established in 2012 after the Russian-Georgian war of 2008. The meeting format was created for trade-economic relations and is held at least twice a year.

In December 2000, Russia introduced a visa regime with Georgia and in 2006 it carried out mass deportation of Georgians from Russia.

After the Russia-Georgia war in 2008, Georgian citizens were only awarded a visa to travel to Russia if they had been invited by very close relatives.

Georgia’s former government annulled visas for Russian tourists in 2011, though Russia maintained its complicated procedures until now.

In December 2015, Russian Foreign Ministry said it was "determined” to continue to take steps to alleviate the conditions of communication between the citizens of the two nations.