Dmitry Aleshkovskiy, a Russian journalist and activist who co-founded the charitable foundation ‘Help Needed’ and the publication ‘Takie Dela,’ was denied entry to Georgia upon flying into the Tbilisi Airport from Yerevan according to his mother, historian, Tamara Eidelman.
Per his mother’s account, she and Aleshkovskiy had driven to Yerevan two days before the incident for a lecture that Eidelman was supposed to deliver. While Eidelman went on to Istanbul from there, Aleshkovskiy flew back to Georgia, where he was denied entry at the border and put on a plane back to Yerevan.
Eidelman’s critical post slammed the decision and stated, “Oh my God! These are Georgians! Where is your courage? Where is your hospitality? Are you so trembling in front of Russia, the aggressor country, that you do not let in those who are inconvenient to the Russian authorities?”
According to Eidelman, over the last six months, every time that she or Aleshkovskiy arrived in Georgia, they were detained for long periods of time without explanation. “Once I waited two and a half hours for someone to study my passport, and then without explanation, they returned it and said ‘Welcome to Georgia,'” she said.
She claimed that later they “improved the process” and would send photos of her passport somewhere via Whatsapp to get “permission” for them to enter or leave the country. On this recent trip to Yerevan too Eidelman says that they were asked to wait at the border while their passports were examined before being allowed to cross.
Aleshkovksiy left Moscow after the Russian invasion of Ukraine and has been involved in projects against the war. Per RFE/RL’s Ekhokavkaza, Aleshkovksiy was put on the list of foreign media agents by the Russian Ministry of Justice in July.
Civil.ge is trying to get in touch with the Ministry of Internal Affairs for comment. We will update the article as soon as we have their comment.
This is not the first time that a Russian journalist, activist, or blogger has been denied entry to Georgia this year. Most recently, on July 19 Kremlin-critical blogger Alexei Romanov said that he was refused entry to Georgia after waiting for almost 6 hours at the Sadakhlo checkpoint on the Georgian-Armenian border.
Romanov wrote at the time that the Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) handed him a document where no specific reasons for refusal of entry are provided, but the checked point refers to “does not satisfy other reasons outlined in the Georgian legislation.” Romanov himself assumed that the reason for the decision is his journalistic activity and reports filed from Georgia last fall when citizens held protests demanding the release of imprisoned ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili.
Besides that, Georgia refused entry to Russian journalist David Frenkel of independent online media outlet Medizaona, as well as several Russian opposition politicians, including Lyubov Sobol, a key ally of jailed Alexei Navalny.
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