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Georgian border guards refused two Russians to cross the border

28.08.23 18:55

In recent days, two incidents involving Russians occurred at the state border of Georgia. A well-known lawyer, former children’s ombudsman Pavel Astakhov was unable to leave Georgia for Turkey, and the author of the project “Excursions to Georgia” Alexey Mukhranov was not allowed to enter Georgia from Armenia.

Astakhov told journalists that, having finished shooting the material for the film about “Noah’s Ark” and “The World Flood” in Armenia, he, together with the film crew of the “Spas#” TV channel, crossed the Armenian-Georgian border in order to transit, by the shortest land route, to Turkey, to Mount Ararat, where the group planned to continue filming.

“At the Georgian border, the border guards illegally and unjustifiably detained us for almost seven hours, took documents and inspected all personal belongings, tried to convince us to sign the protocol in Georgian and English, and in the end they refused us and the director of the film in transit,” Astakhov said.

At the same time, the lawyer called the actions of the Georgian border guards “provocation” and “arbitrary”. He noted that the border police did not provide the Russians with an interpreter.

According to Astakhov, he had to return to Armenia, then get to Ararat via Istanbul.

According to the author of the “Excursions in Georgia” project, Alexey Mukhranov, he was in Georgia throughout 2023 and went to Armenia only for a short time. Mukhranov started the project “Excursions around Georgia” in 2010. According to the latest data, the writer is in the buffer zone between the two countries.

At Radio Svoboda’s request to clarify the specific reasons for the incidents with Astakhov and Mukhranov, the press service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs replied that border police officers make decisions independently within their competence and in accordance with the law. The Ministry of Internal Affairs does not comment on decisions related to the prerogative of the border agency.

After the large-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, according to unofficial data, up to 130 thousand Russian citizens moved from Russia to Georgia for permanent residence. More exact figures are unknown, since according to Georgian legislation, Russians can stay in Georgia without a visa and without registration for a year.

At the same time, since the beginning of the year, Georgia has been visited by about 500,000 Russian tourists. Russia ranks first among all countries in terms of the number of tourists visiting Georgia.

Over the past 15 months, the Georgian authorities, without explaining the reasons, have often denied the right to enter the country to well-known Russian figures – oppositionists from Alexei Navalny’s team, as well as popular journalists and bloggers, NewsinFrance reports.