The prospect of a visit by the daughter of Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, to a wedding in Georgia has sparked protests which saw the event cancelled.
Yekaterina, the daughter of Putin’s closest aid, was reportedly at her brother-in-law’s post-wedding reception at a lavish mountain resort near the capital Tbilisi last weekend (May 20).
However, when news of Lavrov’s daughter’s visit leaked to local media outlets nationalist protesters descended on the resort.
It was reported in local media there were shouts of “Russians have no place in Georgia” and eggs being thrown at vehicles leaving the hotel. Subsequent clashes with police resulted in 16 people being detained.
US government-funded media outlet Radio Free Europe’s Georgian reporting service claimed there were conflicting reports about whether Yekaterina and her husband Aleksandr Vinokurov actually attended.
But the President of Georgia Salome Zurabishvili was quick to confirm the wedding reception of Yekaterina’s relative was cancelled.
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In an exclusive comment provided to Express.co.uk, former president Mikheil Saakasvili’s defence minister, David Kezerashvili, said he feared the visit of Lavrov’s daughter had sinister connotations.
“Reports that Sergey Lavrov’s family attended a wedding in Georgia recently would appear to make a mockery of international sanctions,” he said.
“Moreover, it signals a worrying new phase in Georgia’s recent democratic reversal.
“From the ongoing crackdown on dissenting voices in the media to the shameless persecutions of political opponents, ordinary Georgians see the creeping influence of the Kremlin everywhere.”
Since gaining independence from Russia the small country on the Turkish border the influence of its powerful neighbour has remained strong.
Just like nearby Ukraine, there are disputed territories Abkhazia and South Ossetia where violence erupted in 2008.
The president at the time of that conflict Saakashvili has since been imprisoned and claims he is being slowly poisoned.
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