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Georgian wine industry to dry up and collapse if Russia bans imports, warns MP

Earlier, State Duma’s Vice-Speaker Sergey Neverov said there were plans to discuss a ban on supplies of Georgian wines and mineral water at the State Duma Council

LUXEMBOURG, July 8./TASS/. A prohibition on Georgian wine imports to Russia would decimate Georgian vintners and impair the Georgian economy in general, Russia’s former chief sanitary inspector and current State Duma (lower house) MP Gennady Onishchenko told journalists on Monday.

Russian legislation enables these potential moves, said the State Duma lawmaker. "But then, the Georgian wine industry will surely collapse... If we impose sanctions, the Georgian people will have to ask their politicians who they are working for - Washington or their own people," Onishchenko pointed out.

In the event that a ban from Russia is imposed, Georgian wine producers won’t be able to re-channel their products into other markets. "The Georgian economy will collapse and the United States won’t be able to help them," the legislator stressed.

Earlier, the head of the United Russia Party’s faction, State Duma’s Vice-Speaker Sergey Neverov, said that on Monday, the faction planned to discuss a ban on supplies of Georgian wines and mineral water at the State Duma Council, as well as on money transfers to Georgia in the wake of the recent developments.

Earlier, Russia’s consumer rights watchdog said that control over the quality of alcoholic beverages imported from Georgia to Russia would be tightened. Regular inspections demonstrate that "the quality of the aforementioned goods has been worsening over time," the agency said. Georgia’s National Wine Agency insists that the exported goods are under strict control.

Massive rallies have been taking place in front of the Georgian parliament building since June 20. The protests were sparked by an uproar over a session of the Inter-parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy hosted by the parliament. In accordance with the approved protocol, the head of Russia’s delegation Sergei Gavrilov, a member of the State Duma (the lower house of parliament), took the Georgian parliament speaker’s seat, irking the Georgian opposition, who disrupted the event and brought people on to the streets. The protesters eventually tried to storm the parliament building. As a result, 240 people suffered injuries and more than 300 were detained. Last week, the Georgian Prosecutor General’s Office labeled the attempt to storm the parliament as a coup aimed at overthrowing the government.