Speaking about the recently declared economic sanctions against Georgia, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that “due to his respect towards Georgian people,” he would refrain from taking steps, which “would complicate relations” with Georgia.
President Putin made these remarks in the interview with Russia-24, state-owned TV channel, during his visit to Yekaterinburg. His remarks came after Giorgi Gabunia, host of a prime-time news show “Postscriptum” on Rustavi 2 TV, insulted Putin on July 7 using swear words.
“There are people in Georgia who protest against this fact. Just for the sake of these people, for the sake of restoration of full-fledged relations between Russia and Georgia, I would not do anything that would complicate our relations,” he said.
Putin’s statement comes after the Russian State Duma adopted a resolution on July 9, recommending the Government to discuss the expediency of imposing economic sanctions against Georgia and to submit a relevant proposal to the President of Russia. All the four factions – United Russia, Communist Party, Liberal-Democratic Party and Fair Russia supported the resolution.
In response to Putin’s remarks, Georgian Foreign Minister Davit Zalkaliani said “the Russian President’s decision is the only correct decision and it can only be welcomed.” He also noted that it is inadmissible to make statements, which can “cause irreparable damage to further development of our country.” Georgian and Russian MFAs have exchanged conciliatory messages previously.
Putin’s historical digression
While making a conciliatory statement President Putin launched into a historical digression, that he used to justify his position, including around Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
Putin said that these regions were historically independent and in 1918-1920 years, Georgia stood behind “occupation of Abkhazia” and “genocide of Ossetian people.” “It would be better if the present Georgian government knew about it,” the Russian President said.
He also commented on the recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, noting that “Russia was simply forced to recognize their independence and protect these peoples.”
Putin explained that “anti-Russian sentiments are incited by those people in Georgia, who know nothing about it or are simply neglecting it, ultimately causing irreparable harm to Georgia and Georgian people.”