Comment by the Information and Press Department on the latest application of the so-called “Law on Occupied Territories” in Georgia
We took note of the announcement by Georgian authorities that former Mayor of Moscow Yury Luzhkov would be added to the list of “persona non-grata” due to his past visits to the Republic of Abkhazia and the Republic of South Ossetia.
As we can see, official Tbilisi continues its systematic provocations, undermining the process of improving relations with Russia. It is difficult to provide rational explanations for this behaviour, because Russia-Georgia normalisation brings with it tangible benefits for the economy and citizens of Georgia.
Regardless, the Russian Foreign Ministry is forced again to advise Russian citizens to carefully weigh the risks of travelling to Georgia. For obvious reasons, local authorities did not dare to apply the penalties associated with the “Law on Occupied Territories” to Yury Luzhkov, and released a “verdict” only after he left “hospitable Georgia.” However, in recent years, unfortunately, there have been other instances where Russian citizens in similar situations were repeatedly subjected to fines and even imprisonment. As a reminder, the law provides for a fine of up to $3,000 or imprisonment for up to four years.
Please be advised that in the absence of diplomatic relations, which were severed by Georgia, the Russian Interests Section at the Embassy of Switzerland in Tbilisi has very limited capabilities to protect fellow citizens from the arbitrary behaviour of the authorities.