Georgia "normalized" by Russians, who fear "infiltration of the West"
by Vladimir Rozanskij

The Russian deputy Sergej Gavrilov occupied the seat of the President of the Senate of Tbilisi. Russian airline flights and shipments from Georgia blocked. Commercial sanctions are also being studied. Gavrilov calls himself "a Stalinist who defends the principles of Orthodoxy throughout the world". Fighting NATO and "foreign instigators".

Moscow (AsiaNews) - From June 20, a series of street protest demonstrations are taking place in Georgia, after the Russian deputy Sergej Gavrilov occupied the chair of the President of the Senate of Tbilisi at a meeting of the Interparliamentary Orthodox Assembly.

The Georgian opposition demanded the resignation of the president of the Senate and the liquidation of the ruling party. The head of state, Ms. Salome Zurabishvili, accused Russia of interfering in Georgian politics through a "fifth column".

Russian President Vladimir Putin immediately took measure of urgency, banning flights of Russian airlines to Georgia, and the Ministry of Transport has stopped all shipments from Georgia, which bring large quantities of food to Moscow daily.

MP Sergej Gavrilov (see photo) defended himself by saying that he had been invited to sit on the chair of the Senate presidency by the parliamentary leaders themselves; not to represent the rebels of Abkhazia, as he was accused; that it was not a coup attempt.

Instead, he accuses the Georgian opposition of organizing a coup exploiting him as an unwilling instrument. Gavrilov is a member of the Russian Communist Party, committed to the "defense of Christian values", and often travels to neighboring countries for "fraternal visits", as he himself called them: before Georgia he went to Serbia, Syria and Transnistria , in order to "counter the provocateurs of the West".

In the Russian State Duma Gavrilov is the head of the Committee for the development of civil society, and deals in particular with issues concerning public and religious associations. Some time ago, the Committee proposed to establish a special legal status for pilgrims, and Gavrilov himself drafted a bill to make stadium prayers mandatory before sporting events. A few days ago he went to Yekaterinburg in order to reconcile protesters opposed to the construction of the Orthodox church in the city park, but his visit further exasperated the protests.

Gavrilov said that "we must flush out foreign instigators, that is, those who instill the distrust of the people towards our country and its Church, and want to divide Russian society. We are confident of strengthening the law on the criminal liability of public associations, which often function as agencies of foreign spies, and to exclude the possibility of manipulating people through social media".

The deputy calls himself "a Stalinist who defends the principles of Orthodoxy throughout the world", in particular by ideally fighting against "the enemies of NATO, who do everything to break up our spiritual unity". Specifically, Georgia is considered by Gavrilov “one of the main servants of America, especially in relation to the situation in neighboring Ukraine”.

In the course of these controversies, the head of the "Russia and Justice" party Sergej Mironov, supporter of Putin's party, has invited the Russian parliament to approve sanctions against Georgia, in response to the "anti-Russian actions" of Georgian politicians.

Mironov recalled that Russia imports large quantities of Georgian wine, along with many other food products, to the detriment of local Russian production. This "gesture of good will" towards the Georgian economy is now repaid by ingratitude, and for this he "does not see the sense of maintaining commercial relations with a country that leads an open anti-Russian policy". Mironov also accused the Georgians of failing to guarantee the security of the Russian parliamentary delegation in Georgia, led by Gavrilov.