Georgia is open for Russian tourists and business, but not for Russian spies, President Saakashvili’s spokesperson said while commenting on Georgia’s refusal to give entry visas to two Russian scholars.
A delegation of five Russian scholars arrived in Tbilisi on December 1 to participate in series of meetings with Georgian colleagues to discuss Russian-Georgian relations. Two of them – Nikolai Silayev, a Caucasus analyst with the Moscow State Institute of International Relations and Sergey Mironenko, director of the Russian State Archives – were denied entry visas in the Tbilisi airport. Others refused to entered in support of Silayev and Mironenko.
“The President notes that entry of spies sent by the occupation forces and Russian security services is unacceptable for him,” Manana Manjgaladze, President’s spokesperson, said on December 2.
“According to our information, these persons are in close cooperation with the Russian special services and are actively supporting occupation of Georgian territories… Georgia open for Russian tourists, Russian businessmen, arts, sportsmen and ordinary citizens,” she added.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that refusal to allow two scholars to enter into Georgia was “regrettable”.
“This action finally confirmed the current Georgian regime’s drive to cut all the links through which Russians and Georgians still keep ties,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said. “Action of this kind by official Tbilisi confirms panic fear towards open and unbiased polemic on difficult issues.”