Tbilisi Mayor supports direct flights to Russia, end of visas
Kaladze welcomes direct flights to Russia
Mayor of Tbilisi Kakha Kaladze welcomes the abolition of the visa policy for Georgian citizens in Russia and the restoration of direct flights to Russia.
“You know that everything was done unilaterally. Sanctions were imposed against on country and our people, visas were introduced, direct flights were banned. If such a decision is made, then, of course, we welcome direct flights and even visa-free travel for citizens of our country,” Kaladze told reporters.
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On March 22, Russian State Duma deputy, chairman of the committee on Eurasian integration and relations with compatriots Leonid Kalashnikov said that Russia and Georgia are on the verge of restoring direct flights and canceling visas. However, according to Kalashnikov, it is difficult for him to assess when and in what order these decisions will be made.
On January 18, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov expressed hope for a speedy restoration of direct flights with Georgia and said that the 10% growth of the Georgian economy was largely due to ties with Russia.
Sergei Lavrov said that there are necessary mechanisms for a dialogue between Georgia, Abkhazia and Tskhinvali, in which “Russia also participates.” According to him, Moscow is in favor of building relations between Georgia and the occupied territories. Lavrov spoke about this at the final press conference in 2022.
Lavrov also notes that Western countries and institutions are trying to “hold hostage” the events taking place in Ukraine in the Geneva format, which, in his opinion, “is caused by political grievances and whims.”
At a 2022 final press conference, Sergey Lavrov praised the Georgian government, saying that the country is “resisting pressure from the West.”
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Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili does not welcome the resumption of flights with Russia.
“At a time when all our partner countries, in word or deed, express maximum solidarity with the selfless struggle of Ukraine, for me and I am sure the majority of society, the position of the government and the ruling parties is, to put it mildly, incomprehensible,” Zurabishvili wrote.
This is not the first time that high-ranking officials of the Russian Federation have praised the Georgian authorities for their attitude towards Ukraine and the West.
On March 25, 2022, Karasin praised them for their position on the Ukrainian issue. Karasin called Georgia’s reaction to the anti-Russian sanctions of the West “balanced” and said that “this fact will not go unnoticed” in Russia.
Karasin also said that after 2012, when the Georgian Dream party came to power, Russia became Georgia’s second most important trading partner, all restrictions on Georgian goods have been lifted and Georgia’s exports to Russia have increased fourteen times.