Civil organizations are issuing a statement on the establishment of a visa regime for Russian citizens.
In the statement, the organizations demand to immediately establish a visa regime for Russian citizens and review the legal status of those who have already entered the territory of the country.
"We, the organizations, once again express our full support to the Ukrainian people in their struggle for freedom, we recognize that the Russian Federation has committed acts prohibited by international/law of war in Ukraine and Georgia and it continues to violate the territorial integrity of our country; we demand that a visa regime be established for citizens of the Russian Federation.
It is known to the public that in the period of January-June 2022, the rate of arrival of Russian visitors to Georgia increased significantly. In addition, after Russia's invasion of Ukraine, about 6,400 Russian companies were registered in Georgia, which is 7 times more than the annual rate of 2021. Russian exports have increased significantly, and the mass influx of Russian citizens and businesses clearly indicates that the citizens of the occupying state are free to use occupied Georgia to escape the difficult economic situation created by the sanctions against the Russian Federation.
We believe that the control of Russian citizens and businesses entering Georgia is a matter of the country's national security. In particular, the continued occupation, the ethnic cleansing committed by the Russian Federation in Georgia, crimes against humanity, the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and the approach often used by the Russian Federation - intervention in a foreign country under the pretext of so-called protection of its citizens - creates a sufficient basis for establishing a visa regime.
The admission of citizens of foreign countries to the territory of Georgia involves the wide discretion of any country. Any independent country has the right to decide which countries' citizens have the right to enter, move and enjoy the benefits of the country. In addition, it is a proven practice to restrict the enjoyment of certain rights to citizens of an occupying and hostile country, which is compatible with internationally established human rights standards.
Here we point out that the acceptance of political asylum and refugee status is recognized and regulated by international legal instruments, which are used individually, in each specific case, taking into account a number of circumstances. Accordingly, the mentioned rules cannot be used against the establishment of the visa regime.
Based on all of the above, we demand to immediately establish a visa regime for Russian citizens and review the legal status of those who have already entered the territory of the country," says the statement signed by the following organizations:
Open Society Foundation of Georgia; Media Ombudsman; Shame; Institute of Civil Society; Association of Young Lawyers of Georgia; Equality Movement; Rights Georgia; Women's Initiative Support Group WISG; European Foundation; International of Advocates and Lawyers; Observatory; Safari; Guardians of Democracy; Social Sciences Center; Court Watch of Georgia; GreenAalternative; Democracy Index - Georgia; Platform "Avenue"; BGI Advisory Service Georgia; Archil Chofikashvili - Master of Laws, mentor lawyer specializing in general and juvenile justice, founding member of the "Georgian Bar Association", lawyer of the "Rights of Georgia" (Article 42 of the Constitution).