Georgian Authorities Plan to Return the Embassy to Russia

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The opposition Georgian TV channel Mtavari has reported that the ruling Georgian Dream party is considering restoration of diplomatic relations with Russia. Georgia severed diplomatic relations with Russia on 3 September 2008, after the end of the Russian-Georgian war. Now all consular and other diplomatic services are provided at Swiss embassies, where special sections exist. According to the Georgian TV channel, the Georgian authorities are allegedly actively working with Moscow to open an embassy. The channel’s source claims that the selection of staff for the embassy is underway. The SOVA portal writes that representatives of diaspora and business community, namely representatives of the diaspora who have close relations with the Kremlin, started talking about the possible opening of the embassy. The Georgian Dream called this information unfounded. The ruling party has repeatedly stressed that there is no question of any restoration of diplomatic relations with the country that occupies Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region until the complete de-occupation of the Georgian territories takes place. After the Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, anti-Western and anti-Ukrainian rhetoric has been voiced by Georgian Dream leaders. On 10 May last year, Russian leader Vladimir Putin lifted the ban on direct air traffic with Georgia, which had been suspended in 2019 at Moscow’s initiative, and also issued a decree cancelling the visa regime for Georgian citizens that Russia had unilaterally imposed back in 2000. The Georgian Dream recently passed an analogue to Russia’s “foreign agents law”, which stirred up thousands of protests in Georgia. The European Union warned after the law was finally passed that it is considering “all options” to respond to these actions by Tbilisi.