A Russian women’s rights activist living in Georgia has been denied re-entry into the country just days after she was declared a ‘foreign agent’ by Russia.
On Sunday, the independent Russian magazine Kholod reported that Anna Rivina had been denied entry following a work trip to Yerevan.
Rivina is the founder and director of Nasiliu.Net (‘no to violence’), an organisation providing services and shelter to victims of domestic violence, and had reportedly been living in Georgia for several months.
Kholod cited her as saying that she was made to wait for several hours at the border before being turned away.
In 2020, the Russian Ministry of Justice included Nasiliu.Net on a list of non-profit organisations that they claimed to function as ‘foreign agents'. On 10 February, Rivina was herself declared a ‘foreign agent’.
The Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs declined to comment on the case.
According to Russian blogger Nikolai Levshits, Rivina has now flown to Israel. Levshits said she was refused entry on the basis of ‘other cases envisaged by Georgian Legislation’, a justification frequently used by Georgian authorities to bar activists and journalists from authoritarian countries from entering.
Denied Russians in Georgia
Following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022, hundreds of thousands of Russian citizens have fled to Georgia.
Russian citizens do not require a visa to enter Georgia, however, there have been widespread reports of people critical of the Russian government being denied entry without explanation.
Russian citizens from the North Caucasus have also widely reported being singled out.
On 10 December, Kholod wrote that Aleksey Ponomarev, the editor of Kholod’s podcasts, was denied entry to Georgia after flying to Tbilisi from Riga, Latvia.
In September, Vasily Krestyaninov, a Russian photojournalist, was refused entry to Georgia twice in less than two weeks, despite having lived in the country since the end of 2021.
In the same month, Mitya Aleshkovski, the founder of the Nuzhna Pomosh foundation and the online publication Takie Dela, was also denied entry.
In June, the border police barred Olga Borisova, a member of the band Pussy Riot, from entering Georgia without explanation.
David Frenkel, a reporter for Russian digital outlet Mediazona, was denied entry on 10 March — four days after Russian authorities blocked the outlet for refusing to censor news about the war in Ukraine.
Another prominent journalist, Mikhail Fishman, an anchor at the independent Russian TV station Dozhd, cited a similar experience on 5 March.
The apparent policy of denying entry to government critics extends beyond Russia. In January the deputy chair of Azerbaijan’s opposition Popular Front Party, Seymur Hazi, was also refused entry to Georgia without explanation.