Twenty-one Georgian NGOs on Tuesday damanaded imposing of visa requirements for Russian citizens in a joint statement, pointing at “security threats” the “uncontrolled influx” could trigger on the background of Russia’s war in Ukraine.
The NGOs expressed their “full support” for the Ukrainian people “in their struggle for freedom”, stressing that Russia “has committed acts prohibited by international law by its war in Ukraine and Georgia” and continued to violate the territorial integrity of Georgia and Ukraine.
"In the period of January-June 2022, the rate of arrivals of Russian visitors to Georgia increased significantly. After Russia's invasion of Ukraine, about 6,400 Russian companies were registered in Georgia, which is seven times more than in 2021. Russian exports have seriously increased, and the mass influx of Russian citizens and businesses clearly indicates that the citizens of the occupying state are free to escape from the difficult economic situation created by international sanctions against Russia”, said the NGOs.
The non-governmental organisations stated that exercising control on Russian citizens and businesses entering Georgia was “a matter of the country's national security”.
They stated that the “continuous occupation” of Georgian lands, the ethnic cleansing committed by Russia in Georgia, crimes against humanity, the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, killing of its own citizens who oppose the current Rissian Government “created a sufficient basis for establishing a visa regime” for Russian nationals.
"The admission of citizens of foreign countries to the territory of Georgia involves the wide discretion of any country. Any independent country has the right to decide which countries' citizens have the right to enter, move and enjoy the benefits of the country”, said the NGOs.
The NGOs stated that acceptance of political asylum and refugee status was recognized and regulated by international legal instruments, which were used individually, in each specific case, considering “a number of circumstances.”
“Accordingly, the mentioned rules cannot be used against the establishment of the visa regime”, the NGOs insisted, demanding an “immediate establishment of a visa regime for Russian citizens” and reviewing the legal status of the persons who have already entered the territory of the country.
The Georgian Dream authorities have stated that they had no plans to impose visa requirements for Russian citizens as the move would “harm domestic tourism”.