Interior Ministry confirms presence of Russian singer in Georgia amid opposition’s criticism

The Georgian Interior Ministry said that Lev Leshchenko (R) faced no problems at the border and that no violation of the Georgian law on the occupied territories was confirmed. Photo: kommersant., 26 Jul 2021 - 17:27, Tbilisi,Georgia

The Georgian Interior Ministry has confirmed that Russian singer Lev Leshchenko, who is close to the Russian political elite, had spent several days in Georgia and has already left the country. 

Georgian opposition-minded TV channel Mtavari Arkhi reported last week that Leshchenko, ‘who sang the independence of Georgia’s Russian-occupied Abkhazia region and violated the Georgian law on the occupied territories,’ was vacationing in Georgia. 

The channel reported that the singer was hosted by PM Irakli Garibashvili’s relative Lekso Tamazashvili and MP Beka Odisharia and that  Leshchenko stayed in hotel Paragraph ‘owned by the founder of the ruling Georgian Dream party Bidzina Ivanishvili.’ 

The Georgian Interior Ministry says that Leshchenko underwent passport control at the Georgian airport ‘without problems and no previous violations were detected (including entry to the country’s occupied territories without the consent of the central Georgian government).’

A member of the European Georgia opposition party Gigi Tsereteli said that the ‘Georgian government continues the Russian game despite recent protests in the country.’ 

The presence of Russian MPs in the Georgian parliament back in 2019 sparked large-scale protests in the country, while Russian journalist Vladimir Pozner, who had stated that Abkhazia ‘will never be Georgia’, had to leave Tbilisi with his 39 guests due to protests in April 2021. 

Russia occupies 20 per cent of Georgian territories and continues a policy of creeping occupation of Georgian lands.