Georgia spy charges: Russia recalls envoys as mood hardens

Four Russian servicemen detained in Georgia were charged with espionage and have appeared in court. Russia accused Georgia of violating UN resolutions by arresting its personnel and a Russian plane arrived in Georgia to evacuate about 100 diplomats and th

A police cordon around the Russian military headquarters in Tbilisi was removed and as Russia recalled its diplomats, relations between the two countries worsened. In Moscow, Russia’s foreign ministry was in no mood to compromise. Ministers pledged maximum effort to have the servicemen freed.

Mikhail Aleksandrov, an expert on Russian-Georgian relations from the CIS Institute in Moscow, said the arrests were linked to local administration elections due in Georgia on October 5. “I don’t think there is a democratic state in Georgia. In fact, we have a one-party dictatorship in this country and the United National movement controls the parliament and the opposition,” he said.

“The major opposition parties are not allowed membership in the parliament,” Aleksandrov added. “I think the charges are false, of course. Really, there is nothing to spy about in Georgia. And to accuse Russian military officers, actually linked to withdrawal of Russian troops from Georgia, is ridiculous.”