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Leader of Georgian public movement calls for multifaceted union with Russia

August 04, 2016, 16:32 UTC+3 TBILISI

Georgia needs to drastically change its policy toward Russia, says the leader of the public movement "Socialist Georgia"

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TBILISI, August 4. /TASS/. Leader of the public movement "Socialist Georgia" Valery Kvaratskhelia has spoken in favor of changing the country’s policy toward Russia.

"Georgia needs to drastically change its policy toward Russia," Kvaratskhelia told journalists on Thursday. Georgia "should restore economic, cultural and humanitarian union" with Russia and even make "a new agreement," he added. "This is a reliable historic path which has no alternative in our opinion," he noted.

He earlier spoke in favor of establishing a strategic military alliance between the two countries. "Georgia should establish not only partner relations with Russia, as I repeatedly mentioned over the last several years, but also strategic military partnership with Russia, considering current geopolitical conditions," Kvaratskhelia said adding that it should "envisage stationing Russian military bases in Georgia."

Kvaratskhelia served as deputy chairman of the "Union of Georgian-Russian Friendship" in 2001-2007 and later became the head of this public organization. In 2009 he founded the "Neutral Georgia" party and continues to serve as its chairman. In July 2016 he organized the public movement "Socialist Georgia."

Relations between the two countries soured when on August 8, 2008, Georgian forces attacked the breakaway region of South Ossetia. Russia sent its forces into the region to protect the citizens of South Ossetia, many of whom held Russian passports, and expelled the Georgian forces. Russia then recognized the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

On 2 September 2008 Georgia severed diplomatic relations with Russia but said consular ties will remain. Sections of interest of Russia and Georgia have been working at corresponding Swiss Embassies since March 2009.

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