Appeal from non-profit organizations and initiatives regarding regular refusals of entry into Georgia and expulsion from Georgia

Appeal from non-profit organizations and initiatives regarding regular refusals of entry into Georgia and expulsion from Georgia of anti-war political and civil activists, human rights activists, journalists and residents of the Caucasian republics of Russia

We are writing to you with an appeal from non-profit organisations and initiatives regarding the regular denial of entry to Georgia and expulsion from Georgia of anti-war political and civic activists, human rights defenders, journalists and residents of the Caucasian republics of Russia.

Dear Charles Michel, Ursula von der Leyen, Members of the European Parliament and Members of the European Commission. We would like to draw your attention to the regular refusals of entry to Georgia and expulsion from Georgia of anti-war political and civil activists, human rights defenders, journalists and residents of the Caucasian republics of Russia and we ask you to raise the issue of non-admission of Russian activists and change of practice in negotiations with the Georgian authorities. We also ask you to make the following points a condition of Georgia's accession to the European Union:

  • the cessation by the Georgian authorities of the practice of systematically denying human rights defenders, lawyers, journalists, Russian citizens with anti-war views and positions, civil activists and Russian citizens from the North Caucasus entry to Georgia;
  • the creation of a transparent border crossing system and asylum application procedure that complies with the principles and norms of international law and the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, as well as - the creation of an exhaustive list of grounds for refusing entry to Georgia that does not allow for arbitrary interpretation;
  • the implementation of mandatory video and audio recording of all communications between Georgian police officers and citizens who are refused entry into the territory of Georgia, and the introduction of liability for the absence of video recording;
  • the enforcement of the right to call a lawyer, to use a mobile phone, and to audio and video recording of what is happening at the airport and the border by citizens who have been denied entry into the territory of Georgia.

In February 2023, the media outlet Paper Kartuli, citing data from the Georgian Institute for the Development of Freedom of Information, reported that between March and June 2022, more than three thousand Russians were denied entry into Georgia. We are aware of the denial of entry to several dozen anti-war activists, journalists and human rights defenders. The cases known to us are listed in the annex. These are mainly people under persecution from the Russian state, against whom criminal proceedings have been instituted or those who have been given the status of a foreign agent, as well as people working in peacemaking, anti-Putin and human rights activism aimed at bringing about change in Russia. Also on this list are people who have protested against human rights violations by the Georgian authorities.

Please note that we have not mentioned all cases - most activists do not publicise the situation and do not protest, hoping that this will make it easier to resolve the issue of their entry ban. We are also aware of, and it has been pointed out many times in the media and in reports by human rights activists, the mass denial of entry to Russian citizens registered as residents in the North Caucasus republics. For example, the Georgian non-governmental organisation Tolerance and Diversity Institute (TDI) made a major report on this in 2022 and published a report on the Legal Status of Foreigners and Racism in Georgia.

In almost all cases of entry ban, police officers cite the reason "other reasons" and refuse to comment on the situation. Entry to the country is denied both to those who came to Georgia on business and to those who live in Georgia permanently, have a temporary residence permit (which, in these cases is revoked), flat rental agreement and other similar documents related to long-term residence.

Most likely, the border guards do not make decisions on their own. Many Russian activists, journalists and public figures report that they are always held at passport control for a long time while border guards take pictures of their passports, send these photos to someone, and make phone calls to consult someone else. Sometimes they allow them to enter the country, and sometimes they refuse them entry without explaining the reason. In most of these cases, the deportation forms have a tick against the field "other reasons for refusal of entry". Such vague wording makes it difficult to appeal against the decision. It is also impossible to find any publicly available documents which clearly define the rules or criteria on which foreigners can be refused entry into the country. Please note that, according to the current Georgian legislation, Russian citizens have the right to remain in the territory of Georgia without a visa for up to 365 days, after which they are permitted to leave, return on the same day and again remain without a visa for up to 365 days. However, Russian citizens may be refused entry to Georgia, including on the grounds of "Other reasons".

This problem is of concern not only to the Russian media and human rights activists. The above-mentioned report Legal Status of Foreigners and Racism in Georgia recommends that the Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs implement a non-discriminatory entry policy with regard to foreigners entering Georgia; compile and publish detailed statistics on visitors crossing the country's border (indicating the nationality of inadmissible persons and the grounds for refusing entry); eradicate the practice of refusing to admit foreign citizens to Georgia without proper justification, and explain each case of refusal on specific grounds.

Annex. Public cases of non-admission/denied entry of Russian anti-war and opposition activists, journalists and human rights defenders

Below are listed the most well-known cases of denied entry of Russian anti-war and opposition activists, journalists and human rights defenders. Please note that there are many more cases when activists did not publicise information about their denial of entry.


  • Lyubov Sobol: politician, public activist. She was refused entry without explanation at the land border with Armenia. Date: August 2021. Link

  • Ilya Azar: Correspondant at Novaya Gazeta. Refused entry without explanation. He flew to Georgia on an editorial assignment. Date: 23rd July 2021. Link


  • Dmitri Gudkov: Politician. He flew from Kyiv to Tbilisi. He was deported. Date: 31st January 2022 . Link

  • Mikhail Fishman: journalist and presenter at Rain (dozhd). He was held at the border for an hour and then denied entry without explanation. His underage daughters, who arrived with him, were permitted entry. Date: March 2022. Link

  • David Frenkel: journalist. He was refused entry. The reason for refusing entry on the deportation papers given was “other reasons”. “The border police were making phone calls somewhere for 14 hours. They threw up their hands and sometimes even apologised that they themselves didn’t know what was happening and that they were waiting from an answer from above. In the end I was refused entry. They didn’t give me any food, but they let me sit on the sofa out of pity.” Date: 10th March 2022. Link

  • Insa Lander: activist, blogger. She had escaped house arrest and was attempting to cross the Verkhniy Lars checkpoint (land border with Russia). In Russia, she was facing prosecution under the article of “facilitation of terrorist activities”. She spent more than two weeks in the neutral transit zone (from June 12 to 27), Representatives of the Office of the Public Defense in Georgia were not allowed to see her. The case attracted widespread public response. On June 27, Georgia allowed Lander to cross the land border to Georgia. On June 28, she flew to Lithuania. Date: June 2022. Link

  • Olga Borisova: activist, member of Pussy Riot. She was denied entry without explanation. (She was later able to return to the country). Date: 20th June 2022. Link

  • Dmitry Aleshkovskiy: journalist, founder of “nuzhno pomosh” (help needed) foundation and “takie dela” (such things) online publication. He flew to Tbilisi from Yerevan. Border control denied him entry and sent him back to Armenia. Date: 7th September 2022. Link

  • Vasiliy Krestyaninov: press photographer. He was refused entry twice without explanation. He emigrated to Georgia in November 2021 after the FSB attempted to recruit him. Date: August/September 2022. Link

  • Nika Nikulshina: activist, member of Pussy Riot. She was refused entry for “other reasons”. Date: 1st November 2022. Link

  • Gala Latygovskaya: manager of Mediazona. I was held at the border for about an hour, they didn't tell me anything, they just put me on a return flight. Date: 2nd November 2022. Link

  • Katya Arenina: journalist for “Proekta”. Border control staff issued a refusal of entry, citing "other reasons" in the justification column. Date: 14th November 2022. Link

  • Alexei Ponomarev: editor of “Holod” podcast. He was returning to Tbilisi from Riga. He was refused entry without explanation. (He was able to successfully cross the border at a later date). Date: 10th December 2022. Link

  • Dmitry Bykov: writer and publicist. He flew to Batumi from Istambul. Border security guards held him, his wife and son at the border upon arriving in Georgia. They were allowed through in the end. Date: 14th December 2022. Link


  • Anna Rivina: head of the center for “Nasilyu. Net” (no to violence). She flew to Tbilisi from Yerevan. She waited on the decision of the border guards for about three hours and was then deported without explanation. Note: On February 10, 2023, she received the status of “foreign agent”. Date: 12th February 2023. Link

  • Philip Dziadko: editor-in-chief of the Arzamas publication. He flew to Tbilisi from Vienna. Border security guards held Dziadko at the airport all night, and in the morning they refused him entry. They tried to take his phone. While waiting for his return flight, Dziadko spent three days in a windowless room. Date: 20th February, 2023. Link

  • Maxim Olenichev: lawyer, human rights activist. He arrived in Tbilisi on a flight from Berlin. Border control denied him entry without explanation and refused to provided any supporting documentation. Date: 22nd February, 2023. Link

  • Alexandra Shvedchenko: journalist at “Rain” (dozhd). She was stopped at border control upon returning from a short trip to Riga. After half an hour, the journalist was informed that she was not allowed into the country, citing " other reasons" in accordance with legislation. She was immediately deported to Riga on the return flight. Date: 14th March, 2023. Link

  • Daryana Gryaznova: human rights activist. She has lived in Georgia since May 2021. She was stopped at the border on her return from Istanbul and deported without explanation. At the border, among other things, Gryaznova provided a letter from the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights activists, Mary Lawlor, in which she asked the Georgian authorities to assist Gryaznova and allow her entry into Georgia, but this did not help. Date: 29th March, 2023. Link

  • Olga Klyuchnikova: former producer of the Navalny Live channel and ex-head of the campaign staff for Lyubov Sobol. She flew to Georgia from Poland and was detained at Kutaisi airport. Border control took her passport and held her in the neutral transit zone for about a day. She was refused entry, citing “other reasons” and sent back on a return flight to Europe. Date: 5th April, 2023. Link

  • Zhalaudi Geriev: journalist. He flew to Tbilisi from Budapest. Border control took his documents for verification, and then took the journalist to a separate room where they informed him that he was banned from entering the country. They did not give a reason for this. Geriev had previously been denied entry to Georgia in 2014. Date: 6th May, 2023. Link

  • Viktor Shenderovich: writer and publicist. He flew to Georgia to attend an event, but was turned back at border control and deported to Israel. Date: 1st June, 2023. Link

  • Alexey Mukhranov: writer, author of the project “Excursions in Georgia” (TravelGeorgia). He was returning to Georgia from Armenia. A border control employee had already stamped his passport at the land border, but then changed her mind. Mukhanov had to spend the night outside on the street. Date: 27th August, 2023 Link


  • Fedor Krasheninnikov: political scientist and publicist. He was refused entry at passport control without being given any explanation. Date: 29th January 2024. Link

  • Maksim Ivantsov: human rights educator, coordinator of the initiative “Frame”. He flew to Kutaisi from Vilnius. He was detained in baggage claim after passing through passport control. Border control guards confiscated his telephone and electronics, threatened to deport him to Moscow, and expelled him from Georgia. Date: 25th February 2024. Link

  1. Maksim Ivantsov, Anna Kortyukova, Nickolai Kasian, Elena Gubina: frame,
  2. Andrei Paluda: Компания против смертной казни в Беларуси,
  3. Sergei Podsytnik: Samara against war,
  4. Aleksandr Kashevarov: "Burevestnik" movement, @AlKashvrv
  5. Natalia Ivanova: Demokrati-JA e.V.,
  6. Ivan Liubimov
  7. Letters of Freedom. Support for political prisoners in Russia
  8. Sergei Filippov: Public movement of observers SONAR,
  9. Alexander Mishuk: Letters of Freedom,
  10. Saša Belik: Movement of conscientious objectors,
  11. Aleksandr Burtin: Memorial.
  12. Sergey Blinov: Music Against War (,
  13. Andrey Suslov: Perm Memorial in Europe,
  14. Vera Goshkoderia: initiative "artivism 4 solidarity",
  15. Ivan Drobotov: Mitino Volunteers.
  16. Ivan Shershnev: Libertarian Party of Russia,
  17. Anton Hvostov: Saratov regional public organization “Center for Social, Legal and Environmental Initiatives” (Russia),
  18. Irakli Tsulaia: ჰოლონი (Holon),
  19. Dmitry Sporov, Ekaterina Chigaleichik: Culture Connection Foundation,
  20. Grigory Sverdlin: "Get lost",
  21. Maria Kvinikhidze: Russian in Georgia,
  22. Roman Elsner: Dialogue for Understanding,
  23. Mikhail Petrov: Russian anti-war movement in Argentina,
  24. Natalia Mikheeva: "MS",
  25. Irina Bukharkina: Austausch e.V.,
  26. Yulia Vishnevetskaya: Radio Free Europe - Radio Liberty,
  27. Evgeny Zhukov
  28. Bondarenko Vita: Emigration for Action,
  29. Tatiana Dorutina: Human Rights Council of St. Petersburg,
  30. Elena Kotenochkina, Movement "Peace. Progress. Human Rights" named after. Sakharov; Association "Deputies of Peaceful Russia",
  31. Russian Democratic Society, Serbia,
  32. Petr Vasilev: Smårådina: For democrary in Russia (🇳🇴),
  33. Kristina Lunina: Supportive Media "It will work out"),
  34. Ekaterina Biruykova: Haifa anti-war group "Svyaz",
  35. Fatal Flash: The LGBT life e.V.,
  36. Tumasov Mikhail: LGBT,
  37. Maria Kartasheva: Russian Canadian Democratic Alliance,
  38. Anna Zueva: anti-war human rights foundation "Free Buryatia",
  39. Dr. Alek D. Epstein: Discovery Routes, Israel,