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Russia does not exclude visa free regime with Georgia

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, November 1
Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin says the possibility of a visa free regime with Georgia has not been excluded.

“It is another issue that a pace to the visa-free regime is slow,” Karasin told Russian media outlet Izvestia.

He stated when speaking about the visa free regime with Georgia, terrorist threats and illegal migration should be taken into account.

Karasin said Russia had a concrete offer.

“We doubled the number of visas issued in 2016 with a total of 40,000. This year the figure will likely rise,” Karasin said.

In December 2000, Russia introduced a visa regime with Georgia and in 2006 it carried out a 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, however, Russia maintained its complicated procedures until now.

The question is whether there could be any threats from Georgia as the country has been regarded as one of the safest places in the region and in the world. However, the threat from Russia definitely exists, as the Northern neighbor occupies 20 percent of Georgia’s territory. Amidst this disturbing factor, Georgia is making major breakthroughs in terms of development and safety, which is manifested by the fact that Georgia has obtained visa free travel with the EU from March this year. Georgian citizens shall travel to 26 countries of the Schengen Area and stay for 90 days in any 180-day period. No serious illegal migration issues have been reported so far.