Condition for easing the visa regime between Russia and Georgia is the restoration of law enforcement cooperation between the two countries. As reported TASS, said Russian foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on the sidelines of the Munich security conference.
The Minister called the possibility of returning the visa-free regime with Georgia is a complex issue and noted that he was “a little weird” to discuss in the absence of diplomatic relations with Tbilisi. “But it is also associated with the need to ensure the safety, not only Central Asia but the Caucasus is becoming a route that trying to use the militants and extremists,” said Lavrov.
The Russian foreign Minister added that talking about simplifying the visa regime will be after solving these problems through the cooperation between the law enforcement agencies of Russia and Georgia. He also drew attention to the fact that between the two countries is growing, increasing the number of flights, and the citizens of Georgia, “almost any reason” unable to visit Russia.
In December 2016, Russian President Vladimir Putin did not rule out a resumption of a visa-free regime for citizens of Georgia, saying that Moscow sees “certain signals” from Tbilisi. However, he pointed out the necessity of normalization of cooperation between law enforcement and intelligence agencies of the two countries.
Diplomatic relations between Russia and Georgia were severed in 2008. It happened after Abkhazia and South Ossetia declared secession from Georgia and Russia recognized their independence. The visa regime between the two countries was introduced in 2000 at the initiative of Moscow, which considered it necessary to protect the border from terrorists based in the Pankisi gorge. In February 2009, the President of Georgia Mikhail Saakashvili unilaterally abolished the visa regime for Russian citizens.