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Russian Delegation Members Refused Entry Into Georgia

TBILISI -- Georgian authorities have refused to allow some Russian scholars to enter Georgia, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

A group of five scholars arrived in Tbilisi on December 1 to take part in a conference on Russian-Georgian relations scheduled for December 3.

But Georgian officials in the Tbilisi airport refused to issue an entry visa for Nikolai Silayev, from the Caucasus Studies Center of Moscow State University, and Sergei Mironenko, the director of the Russian state archives.

After that refusal, Vladimir Baranovsky, Aleksandr Miller, and Artiom Malgin decided not to enter Georgia in a show of support for Silayev and Mironenko.

Gia Tortladze, an opposition leader in the Georgian parliament, said he supported the authorities' decision to refuse entry to the two men.

He called the Russian delegation a group that "supports Russia's Federal Security Service and the Kremlin."

Georgian relations with Russia broke down in August 2008 after the two countries fought a five-day war in the Georgian breakaway region of South Ossetia.