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Russian Rights Activists On Lookout For Partners In Georgia

Moscow, 8 August: Russian and Georgian civil society representatives should start a dialogue, including on issues relating to the protection of human rights, the head of the presidential council for human rights, Mikhail Fedotov, has said.

"We would very much welcome an opportunity to establish such cooperation. We are looking for these partners, but we haven't found any so far, unfortunately," Fedotov told Interfax on Monday (8 August).

"Our council is seeking Georgian partners in order to start engaging in a dialogue to discuss crucial issues, including issues of protecting the rights of Russian citizens in Georgia and the rights of Georgians in Russia," he said.

"We think Russian civil society and Georgian civil society strongly need a dialogue and communication to gradually achieve understanding and a relationship of trust," he said.

"We have absolutely concrete issues on which we would like to begin cooperation. In particular, we are very much worried by the fate of Russians languishing in Georgian prisons. For example, a leader of the Meskhetian Turks, Sergey Barbakadze, and Pavel Bliadze, who went on holiday to his relatives and instead found himself jailed. Unfortunately, these are not unique cases," Fedotov said.

"In my opinion, (Russian) President (Dmitriy) Medvedev's recent interview opens up very interesting prospects for Russian-Georgian cooperation, all be it not at the political level, but at the level of civil society structures," Fedotov said. (Passage omitted)

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