The Georgian Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Russia Zurab Abashidze hopes that in 2016 Russia will lift its visa regime for Georgia.
“The Russian president said this today,” Abashidze said.
According to Russia’s Foreign Ministry, now Georgian citizens will enjoy relaxed visa regime. “We are strongly committed to relax visa regime for Georgia and may even consider lifting it in future,” the ministry says.
“No visa regime will be a solution to many problems. We have lots of citizens living and working in Russia and many businessmen visiting that country on a regular basis,” Abashidze said.
According to the Georgian President’s Political Advisor Pikria Chikhradze, this is not bad for Georgia but the Georgians should not expect some drastic changes.
Former Speaker of the Georgian Parliament, the leader of the Democratic Movement Nino Burjanadze is sure that Russia can lift visa regime for the Georgians “but here all depends on the Georgian authorities. If they refrain from praising Putin as adults would praise a schoolboy for good marks, the visa regime will be lifted,” Burjanadze said.
The leader of the Free Georgia Party Kakha Kukava believes that visa-free regime with Russia is no less important than similar regimes with the EU. “This crucial for our citizens, our economy and our national currency. So, we are asking the Georgian Government to be active so as to guarantee free entry to Russia for Georgian citizens in Feb 2016,” Kukava said.
Russia imposed visa regime for Georgia in 2000. Georgia did the same. In early 2012 the country lifted the regime. In 2008, following the Kremlin’s decision to recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Georgian severed diplomatic relations with Russia.