2006 deportation of Georgians from Russia

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2006 deportation of Georgians from Russia refers to a controversial displacement of several hundreds of citizens of Georgia by the government of Russia during the 2006 Georgia-Russia crisis.[1]

The charges against those Georgian citizens in question were that they violated Russian immigration law by forgery or illegally obtaining immigration documents. Russian side saw the process as law enforcement towards illegal immigrants,[1] whereas the Georgian government accused Russia of mid-ethnic cleansing.[2]

Two citizens of Georgia died in Moscow awaiting deportation. Tenghiz Togonidze, 48-year-old Georgian migrant worker died of acute asthma in a Moscow airport as he was awaiting deportation.[3] According to the Georgian Embassy in Moscow, 58 years old Togonidze was denied medical attention for five days of detention despite his requests to see a doctor. The Russian authorities say everything possible was done for Togonidze.[4] Manana Jabelia, Georgian national, living in Russia since the war in Abkhazia, died of a heart attack in custody in Moscow after being detained during the campaign for not having any identity or immigration papers. By that date it was 9 months her passport was processed by Georgian consulate in Moscow in order to change it to a new one.[5]

In its January 2007 survey, the NGO Freedom House also claimed the Russian authorities "tolerated and encouraged the mistreatment of immigrants from Georgia and other Caucasus countries."[6]

On 1 October 2007, the Human Rights Watch released a report on Georgian immigrants in Russia. According to the report, about 1 million immigrants from Georgia legally or illegally reside in Russia, with "the vast majority of migrants working in Russia do so without work permits".

The HRW report said the NGO documented "the Russian government's arbitrary and illegal detention and expulsion of Georgians, including many who legally lived and worked in Russia," and that following the growing political tensions between Russia and Georgia, "Russian authorities began a widespread crackdown on ethnic Georgians, Georgian nationals, and Georgian-owned or Georgian-themed businesses and organizations... Senior government officials disparaged Georgians openly on government-owned TV, and much of Russia’s government-friendly TV and other media followed suit... Police and other authorities denied basic rights to many of the detained" and underscored that "the Russian government’s campaign against Georgians occurred in the context of pervasive racism and xenophobia in Russia."[7]

Georgia sued Russia in the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), demanding that Moscow reimbursed pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages. On 3 July 2009, the ECHR declared that it found Georgia’s complaints against Russia over deportations admissible for hearing and would deliver its judgment "at a later date".[8][9] On 3 July 2014, the court has delivered its judgment on the merits, postponing the question of awarding compensation.[10]