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Russia hopes its reaction has brought to reason political gamblers in Georgia — diplomat

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said that Moscow's reaction to developments in Tbilisi was tough but adequate
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin Mikhail Tereshchenko/TASS
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin
© Mikhail Tereshchenko/TASS

MOSCOW, July 1. /TASS/. Russia hopes its reaction to the anti-Russian campaign in Georgia has brought to reason those seeking to earn political points, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigoty Karasin said in an interview with the Kommersant daily posted on its website on Monday.

"They seem to have forgotten in Georgia that Russia has its own concept of honor and dignity. We are not in the habit of swallowing impudence and threats toward our nationals," Karasin said. "We have to anticipate possible risks in advance and block them."

"I hope our adequate reaction has brought to reason those who are cynical enough to seek to earn points in the political game through anti-Russian rhetoric and threats," he said. "We will spare no effort to establish adequate relations with Georgia. Our two nations are patient and wise enough to promote constructive approaches."

He said it is painful for him to see "that radicals of the Saakashvili school have managed to direct the June 20-21 protests against Russia." "As a result, all the positive things in the Georgian-Russian relations that have been generated through joint efforts starting in 2012, were exposed to jeopardy," Karasin noted. "The new atmosphere was only beginning to work for the benefit of our nations and bear fruit."

But radicals close to Georgia’s United National Movement "have driven the situation back to the deadlock of hostility and confrontation," he noted. "I am confident that they have come to see it clearly enough in Tbilisi."

Russia's reaction

"It was an absolutely adequate reaction. Yes, it was tough but it could not be otherwise as it is about hundreds of thousands of Russian tourists. We cannot expose them to risks from all sorts of hooligans, the more so as this hostility is being fanned by certain political forces," he said.

He noted that Russians are free to decide whether they want to go to Georgia in such a situation but "it is the task of the state to protect people’s security and calmness in any part of the world." "I think it was an absolutely adequate decision, the more so it is a temporary one," he stressed.

Moscow, in his words, expects normalization of the situation in Georgia. It expects Georgia to "stop Russophobic campaign and do away with any threats to security of Russian citizens," he said, adding that as soon as it is done all the restrictions will be lifted. "It is the task of the state to anticipate and calculate possible risks beforehand, before they are realized in life. I would like to repeat it once again: it was a necessary decision," he added.

Developments in Georgia

A series of rallies began in Tbilisi on June 20. The protests were sparked by an uproar over a Russian State Duma delegation’s participation in the 26th session of the Inter-parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy (IAO) that was held at the Georgian parliament. Opposition lawmakers were outraged by the fact that, in line with the protocol, IAO President Sergey Gavrilov addressed the event’s participants from the parliament speaker’s seat. In protest, they did not allow the IAO session to continue and tried to storm the parliament under anti-Russian slogans.

On June 21, Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a decree imposing a temporary ban on flights, including commercial, from Russian to Georgia from July 8.