MOSCOW, June 28. /TASS/. Russian State Duma member Sergey Gavrilov has said that by banning him from entering Georgia, the country's Interior Ministry de facto supported extremists and their anti-Russian statements.
"The position of Geogia's Interior Ministry de facto means that they share extremists' ideological statements that fan anti-Russian and anti-democratic sentiments," Gavrilov told TASS. The Georgian Interior Ministry's actions "only once again confirm that [Russian President Vladimir] Putin's measures were right and effective when he cautioned Russian tourists from vacationing on the territory of Georgia," he added.
Gavrilov confirmed that he planned to visit Georgia himself. "I seriously planned to go to Georgia, together with my family and kids, to show them around the country in the framework of the law on pilgrimage adopted by the State Duma," he said.
The Duma member also noted that the Georgian leadership supported anti-Russian statements voiced during protests in Tbilisi after demonstrators tried to disrupt the session of the General Assembly of the Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy (IAC) chaired by Gavrilov. "With apologies [from Georgia], it is impossible to cotninue expanding relations in the social, cultural and tourism spheres," he said. "If Georgia adhered to its commitments made to the international community and to the European course, it should immediately apologize to the Russian leadership and to the Interparliamentary Assembly for disregarding its international commitments on ensuring security at this international forum," Gavrilov added.
Georgian Interior Minister Giorgi Gakharia told a briefing earlier that the Georgian authorities will not allow Russian State Duma member Sergey Gavrilov to enter the country if he decides to visit.
Gavrilov found himself in the center of a scandal after he opened the session of the IAC General Assembly at the plenary meetings hall of the Georgian parliament, while sitting in the chair of the Georgian parliament speaker. On the same day, people in Tbilisi took to the streets and tried to storm the parliament building. A total of 240 people were injured in the protests, and over 300 people were detained. On the next day, Georgian parliament speaker Irakli Kobakhadze resigned.