Russian MP whose presence in Georgian parliament sparked June protests, says ‘Georgia seems ready to restore ties’

Russian MP Sergey Gavrilov visited Georgia last year. Photo:, 30 Jan 2020 - 13:16, Tbilisi,Georgia

Russian MP Sergey Gavrilov, whose taking the seat of the Georgian parliamentary speaker in June 2019 sparked large protests in the Georgian capital, has called Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili’s recent statement ‘a serious signal’ for improvements in Russia-Georgia relations.

Gavrilov says that Zurabishvili’s words at PACE, that Georgia, as the CoE chair country, may make an exception to the law on the occupied territories and allow a Russian delegation into the country to attend the CoE ministerial is a positive signal.

As it appears Tbilisi is ready to take active steps for the restoration of peaceful relations with Russia in all directions, including the restoration of diplomatic relations [which has been suspended since the Russia-Georgia 2008 war],” the Russian parliamentary magazine has cited Gavrilov as saying.

He says that “Orthodox MPs from Russia” are ready to arrive in Tbilisi during the CoE ministerial if “Zurabishvili keeps the promise.”

Zurabaishvili said at PACE earlier this week that Georgia is likely to meet its international obligation and host the Russian delegation with the delegations of other CoE member states, during the CoE ministerial in Tbilisi in May 2020.

Rallies sparked on June 20 continued for several months in Tbilisi. The opposition says that the visit of the Russian delegation this year 'will renew the rallies.' Photo: Nino Alavidze/ 

The Russian delegation is likely to be headed by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who has violated the Georgian Law on the Occupied territories several times through visiting the Georgian breakaway regions, ignoring official Tbilisi.

Georgian Justice Minister Tea Tsulukiani has stated earlier today that the conduction of the ministerial in Tbilisi has not been decided so far. However, she said that if the ministerial takes place in Tbilisi and Georgia refuses to allow any CoE member state into the country, 'Georgia will receive international sanctions and the Georgian opposition will be happy with it." 

Georgia took over the CoE chairmanship for the first time back in November 2019 with a six-month term.

Georgia restored only economic ties with Russia back in 2013.

Diplomatic relations are still frozen as Russia continues to occupy 20 per cent of Georgian territories and the creeping occupation.

Russia ‘temporarily suspended’ direct flights with Georgia following the June 19 incident, when people took to the streets protesting the presence and action of MPs from the occupant country in the Georgian parliamentary during the Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy.