Georgian President calls for legal restrictions against Russians

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On Friday, Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili during a celebration speech on Independence Day in Tbilisi criticized the authorities for resuming direct flights with Russia, as well as for non-introduction of legal restrictions to Russians arrived in the country. “The independence we are celebrating today means protecting our people. Statehood means that the country is governed by rules and laws. This is the official approach to be applied to everyone. Therefore, it is not clear why no measures and legal regulations have been introduced for mass arrivals of Russians in Georgia and in relation to their activities, especially in such areas as healthcare, education,” the president said. According to Zurabishvili, Georgia’s foreign policy has also become obscure and is increasingly isolated from the European perspective, in her opinion. She noted that the leadership resorts to criticism of Western partners and at the same time cares about Russia. “There is no people who would not be afraid of war... But whipping up fear in a country that remembers so many invasions and conquests cannot be used as a formula for successful governance... It is odd and insulting when we calculate today how many millions the “gift” of flights will bring us. Has our dignity been sold for 200 or 300 million?” the president added. Earlier, Salome Zourabishvili, in response to the decision of the Russian Federation on lifting the visa regime with Tbilisi, called for a meeting of the Security Council and consideration of introducing three-month visas for Russians. Zurabishvili advocated the regulation of the employment right for Russian nationals, as well as for registering business, acquiring property or opening Russian-language schools in Georgia. Russian President Vladimir Putin previously lifted the visa regime with Georgia, as well as the ban imposed in 2019 for Russian airlines on direct flights to the country.