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Another visit to Russia

By Tea Mariamidze
Tuesday, September 19
A Georgian parliamentary opposition party, the Alliance of Patriots of Georgia (APG), has announced that they will embark on another visit to Russia on October 1.

This will be the second visit of the party to Moscow, as they held meetings with Russian Duma MPs in July this year.

The statement about their departure to Moscow was made by the Russian-affiliated party on Sunday, during a protest rally held in the capital of Georgia.

Besides the changes in the Constitution and solving some social problems, the main demand of the APG members is launching a dialogue with Russia.

One of the leaders of the party, Ada Marshania, stressed that the first step towards Georgia’s unification is negotiations with Russia.

"We believe that we cannot unite our country without negotiations with Abkhazians, Ossetians and Russians. In Moscow we will meet the deputies of the Federation Council and State Duma members,” Marshania said.

Furthermore, seventeen activists of the APG have started a hunger strike, calling on the state to fulfill their main demands.

The other opposition parties of Georgia harshly criticized the APG for their pro-Russian activities.

Irakli Abesadze, a member of the parliamentary minority European Georgia party, says that only the state can conduct any negotiations with Russia, which is still an occupant of Georgian territories.

“It is a pity that we have such opposition parties in Georgia which have vague negotiations with Russia, and the aim, content and result of these negotiations is also unclear,” he stressed.

Another opposition party, the United National Movement (UNM), believes the Alliance of Patriots is following the interests of Russia.

“This means that Russia will somehow enter Georgia. It carries out a hybrid war and now it wants direct political influence too. This is bad, and it will be a return to Russian control,” Roman Gotsiridze, a member of the UNM, stated.

The ruling Georgian Dream party has not yet made any official comments over the APG’s upcoming visit to Moscow.

Three APG members - Ada Marshania, NatoChkheidze and GiorgiLomia - met with representatives of the Russian ruling party Yedinaya Rossiya and Communist Party at the CIS Committee on July 12.

Moreover, the opposition Georgian MPs and their Russian colleagues established an informal working group which will gather every month to discuss the normalization process between Russia and Georgia.

The visit of the APG members to Moscow in July was the first diplomatic delegation fromGeorgia to Russia since the August 2008 war, after which Georgia cut official ties with Russia.