The Georgian authorities must provide guarantees that they will ensure security for Russian citizens in the country, Russia’s State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said on Saturday.

The speaker of the lower house of Russia’s parliament thus commented on a decision by Russian President Vladimir Putin to suspend air communication with Georgia.

“On our part, we believe that all measures have to be taken to guarantee the security of Russian citizens and families going on vacation. It is impossible to develop tourism and, all the more so, stimulate it by cancelling visas, until Georgia gives this guarantee,” Volodin said.

Such a decision could have already been taken, “if not for the actions by Georgian radicals and the inability of Georgia’s authorities to ensure law and order,” the State Duma speaker said.

The Russian president’s decision to suspend the air communication “aims to protect Russian citizens from violent actions on the territory of Georgia,” Volodin pointed out.

“The Georgian extremist forces are attempting to seize power. For the purpose of achieving this goal, they are exploiting the anti-Russian and Russophobic rhetoric, relying on radicals. Such actions are unacceptable and damaging the relations between our peoples,” the State Duma speaker stressed.

Last year, “2 million Russian tourists” visited Georgia, which has a population of 3.7 million people, Volodin noted. “This brought over $3.5 billion or about 10% of Georgia’s GDP,” he said.

“Those who are participating in provocations need to realize: they are causing damage not only to the relations of our peoples. In the first place, they are affecting the well-being of their citizens and business by these actions,” Volodin said.

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