Georgia waits for nomination of Russian deputy FM to forecast the fate of economic talks

Russian Deputy FM Gregory Karasin is scheduled to resign in the autumn as he turns 70 at the end of August.Photo:, 30 Jul 2019 - 11:00, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgia is waiting for the nomination of a new deputy foreign minister of Russia to say how the talks on trade and economic cooperation will continue with Russia.

Georgia and Russia restored trade and economic relations back in 2013, with Russian deputy Foreign Minister Gregory Karasin taking up negotiations. 

Karasin is due to resign in the autumn as he turns 70 and cannot hold the post any longer, according to Russian law.

Talks on trade, economic and humanitarian relations between Georgia and Russia have been held twice a year in Prague, with the involvement of Karasin and Georgia’s Special Envoy to Russia Zurab Abashidze.

The format of cooperation is frequently cited as the Abashidze-Karasin talks.

I will make a comment regarding the issue when the Russian Foreign Ministry nominates Karasin’s replacement. However, the talks are not about me and Karasin, it is the Russian-Georgian bilateral dialogue,” Abashidze said.

Karasin took up the post in 2005. Russian media reports that he will stay in the state service.  

The Russian media says that the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry Consular Department Ivan Volinkyn is likely to replace Karasin.

Russian media reports that Ivan Volinkyn may replace Karasin.

The diplomat was declared a persona non-grata in Georgia in 2007, under the United National Movement government, for his possible links with the case of Russian spies.

Volinkyn served as assistant of Russian FM Sergey Lavrov between 2009 and 2013, while he was appointed Russia’s Ambassador to Armenia in 2013, taking the post until 2018.

Russia and Georgia have had no diplomatic relations since the Russia-Georgia 2008 war.

The restoration of trade and economic relations was initiated by the Georgian Dream government in 2013, after winning the 2012 parliamentary elections.

The most recent meeting between Karasin and Abashidze took place in June, when Abashidze said that Georgia has exported 1.5 billion USD worth of products to Russia since 2013.

Karasin stated that 1.5 million Russian citizens visited Georgia last year.

He also said that Russia is among the top countries from where Georgia receives a greater portion of its remittances.

129 million USD has been sent to Georgia from Russia the first four months of 2019”, Karasin said.

Responding to forcing out of Russian MPs from Georgia in-mid June, Russia has banned direct flights to Georgia.

The Russian Duma also addressed the government to ban Georgian products, which was dismissed by Russian President Vladimir Putin.