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Georgia bars two Russian political activists from entering the country

27 February 2024
Illustration: Tamar Shvelidze/OC Media

Two Russian political activists living in Georgia were denied re-entry into the country after being involved in campaigning for Boris Nadezhdin, an opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

On Monday, Maksim Ivantsov, the head of Frame, a Tbilisi-based Russian civil society organisation, stated that he was barred from entering Georgia. He told Dozhd, an independent Russian TV channel, that he had flown to Georgia from Vilnius on Monday.

He stated that the Georgian border police had mistreated him and threatened to deport him to Russia.

‘I spoke to four different policemen many times about wanting asylum, one asked for a pen and paper to write a petition. They laughed and threatened to send me to Moscow 20 times’, he wrote on Facebook. ‘They said I was an enemy of Russia and Georgia’.

Ivantsov, who had been living in Tbilisi for three years, attributed his deportation from Georgia to his organisation’s campaign to collect signatures for the registration of Boris Nadezhdin, an anti-war politician, as a presidential candidate in Russia’s upcoming elections.

Ivantsov has claimed that the Georgian border guards denied him his request to speak to a lawyer and refused to explain why he was refused entry to Georgia.

‘They gave me a piece of paper that said they didn’t let me in. I thought the traditional reason for such cases, “other reasons”, would be written, but this reason was not written on paper’, he said.


Ivantsov was flown to Hungary the same day. He said that he planned to submit an appeal against his treatment at the airport and the Georgian authorities’ refusal of his re-entry into the country.

OC Media has reached out to Georgia’s Interior Ministry for comment on Ivantsov’s deportation.

On Sunday, Egor Kuroptev, the director of the Free Russia Foundation in the South Caucasus, reported that the two activists, one of whom was later identified as Ivantsov, were barred from entering the country ‘during the past week’.

Kuroptev said that both activists were campaigning to collect signatures for a presidential candidate in Russia — likely a nod to Nadezhdin.

Nadezhdin, a former member of the State Duma, is an outspoken critic of Russia’s war on Ukraine. He was disqualified from running in the elections for allegedly not collecting enough signatures to support his candidacy.

Thousands of Russians have fled political repression, economic troubles, and conscription since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Georgia has since barred several Russian activists, journalists, and political figures from entering the country.

[Read more: Russian women’s rights activist barred from entering Georgia]

Kuroptev said that Georgia’s deportation of the two activists last week ‘may pose direct security risks for those Russians who are forced to evacuate from Russian territory due to political persecution’.

‘Such actions by the Georgian authorities can be regarded not only as a violation of the rights of people who, for political reasons, were deprived of the opportunity to return to the country that has been their only home for several years but also as political pressure on any people and groups who do not share the aggressive policies of the Kremlin and take any action in this regard’, he stated.

Read in Armenian on CivilNet.
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