“Putin is a serious political figure. But no one is going to deviate from the European path. That’s what Georgia is critical,” he said in an interview with the newspaper VIEW Chairman of the Committee for European integration in the Georgian Parliament Levan Berdzenishvili, commenting on the words of the President of the Russian Federation about the possible abolition of visas for Georgian citizens.
“Yes, we think we are ready to cancel visa regime with Georgia”, – said Thursday at a press conference the President of Russia Vladimir Putin. Now Russians can visit Georgia without visas, but citizens of the Republic must obtain a visa to visit Russia.
“Russia’s lifting of visas for citizens of Georgia should not be associated with the liberalization of the visa regime for citizens of Georgia with Europe, and this decision we expect any day now”
Commenting on the deterioration of relations between the two countries, Putin recalled that Russia was the culprit of increased. “There was no need to take the former leadership of Georgia and then-President Saakashvili such adventurous decisions that led to the territorial disintegration of Georgia. It’s their fault. This historic wine, and it is on their shoulders entirely,” said the Russian head of state.
The political establishment in Georgia reacted to the words of Vladimir Putin about the possible abolition of visas positively. “We looked at today’s announcement of the President of Russia about the possibility of abolishing the visa regime with Georgia. I think it’s a step in the right direction,” said Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili. The Chairman of the foreign relations Committee of Parliament Tedo Japaridze said that in Tbilisi they believe “interesting and positive step,” the statement of the President of Russia.
However, in the words of Vladimir Putin in Tbilisi see not only positive signals, but also certain pitfalls. In an interview with the Vzglyad newspaper said the Chairman of the Committee for European integration in the Georgian Parliament Levan Berdzenishvili.
OPINION: was it a surprise to you Vladimir Putin’s statement about readiness to cancel the visa regime?
Levan Berdzenishvili (photo: video still)
Levan Berdzenishvili: a conversation about the fact that Russia will soften or cancel the visa regime for Georgian citizens, has been ongoing in the format of regular meetings of the special representative of the Prime Minister of Georgia for Russia Zurab Abashidze and Deputy Minister of foreign Affairs of Russia Grigory Karasin. This dialogue began in 2012, after the change of authorities in Georgia. The citizens of Russia visa in Georgia is not needed. It is therefore natural that citizens of Georgia would not have to take a Russian visa. It is good that Putin said this. But the most important thing to understand now whether his words something.
OPINION: do You mean some are not voiced by the terms of this proposal?
L. B.: If Russia will drop the visa without any conditions, then this is a step in the right direction. But to pay some political price we will not. Already paid plenty! And again: Russia’s lifting of visas for citizens of Georgia should not be associated with the liberalization of the visa regime for citizens of Georgia with Europe, and this decision we expect from day to day. We have done on this great job. That is, we don’t know meant anything Putin or not. But if you just cancel – it’s good for many of our citizens it will be a relief.