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Local Georgian Elections Seen As Test

Saakashvili opening a renovated clinic on October 4 (InterPressNews) October 5, 2006 -- Georgia's President Mikheil Saakashvili voted in local elections today pledging to "transform the country into a fully-fledged, European-style democracy."

The elections, which come during a major row with Russia over spying allegations, is seen as a test of Saakashvili's popularity.

Moscow severed all transport and postal links with Georgia despite the release of four Russian soldiers arrested by Georgian authorities on charges of spying.

Russian authorities also stopped issuing visas to Georgians, raided Georgian-owned businesses, and said they were considering barring Georgian immigrants from sending money home.

Saakashvili's National Movement party is competing against five other parties and blocs in the poll. First results are expected on October 6.

(Rustavi-2,, Reuters)

Moscow And Tbilisi

Moscow And Tbilisi

Russian military hardware being withdrawn from a Russian base in Batumi, Georgia, in August 2005 (TASS)

WHAT COMES NEXT? Although Russia is unlikely to push an aggressive military response to the current tensions with Georgia, it has a number of economic, political, and diplomatic options at its disposal. Already on October 1, Russian President Vladimir Putin summoned his inner circle to weigh Moscow's options... (more)


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Russia Suspends Transport, Postal Links To Georgia

EU Commissioner Urges Dialogue With Moscow

Ulterior Motives Seen Behind Escalation Of Spy Row

Georgia Turns Russians Over To OSCE

MORE: Coverage of the situation in Georgian from RFE/RL's Georgian Service and in Russian from RFE/RL's Russian Service.


RFE/RL's English-language coverage of Georgia and Russia.

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