Russian citizens registered as residents of Russia’s republics in the North Caucasus will be able to enter into Georgia and stay in the country without visa for 90 days starting from October 13.
President Saakashvili signed a relevant decree on October 11.
The rule will apply to residents of Chechnya; Ingushetia; North Ossetia; Dagestan; Kabardino-Balkaria; Karachay-Cherkessia and Republic of Adygea, the Georgian Interior Ministry said on October 11.
Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister, Nino Kalandadze, said on October 11, that the reason behind the decision was to make travel of residents of those republics into Georgia easer through the only legally operating land border between Georgia and Russia.
Kazbegi-Zemo Larsi border crossing point was reopened in March, 2010, but no Georgian visas are being issued at the checkpoint there; the border reopening was mainly aimed at Armenia to give the country land access to the Russian Federation via Georgia.
Georgia has unilaterally simplified visa rules for all the Russian citizens, meaning that they can obtain entry visas upon arrival in the airport.
“It is our desire to restore our traditional relations with our neighboring peoples,” Nino Kalandadze said. “At the same time we know that there are many people having interest to travel into Georgia for commercial purposes, as well as there are interest of enrolling into Georgian high education institutions; so it would have been inappropriate to have some additional barriers in this regard.”