News / Europe

Russia Concerned Over Georgia's Presidential Election

Charges of 'Secret' US Lab Reflect Russia’s Concern About Georgia’s Presidential Electioni
X
August 23, 2013 6:57 PM
Before Russia fought a shooting war with Georgia, it fought a trade war with its small neighbor. James Brooke reports on the latest "fireworks" on the road to peace.
James Brooke
Before Russia fought a shooting war with Georgia, it fought a trade war with its small neighbor.
 
First, Russia lifted a 7-year-old ban on Georgian wine - and wine bottles started flowing north this year to Moscow.
 
Next, Russia re-opened its borders to Georgian mineral water.
 
Here is Gennady Onishchenko, Russia’s chief sanitary inspector, welcoming Georgian wine:
 
But, on Friday, trade normalization between Russia and Georgia hit a big "road bump."
 
Onishchenko said he would not lift Russia's embargo on Georgian fruits and vegetables.
 
He repeated charges that a “secret” U.S.-funded laboratory outside Tbilisi Airport is behind the African swine fever epidemic that is spreading 2,000 kilometers to the north, in European Russia.
 
Earlier, Georgian officials showed VOA around their new laboratory complex, the Richard G. Lugar Center for Public Health Research.
 
Owned by Georgia’s National Center for Disease Control, the lab tracks polio, measles and other infectious diseases.
 
Adam Kotorashvili came home to Georgia from the United States to run the lab’s Genome Center.
 
“This machine is unique for Georgia and the whole region. Before if you wanted to sequence something you had to send sample to the United States or in West Europe somewhere.  And now you don't need to do that. You can just bring the DNAs here and then we can sequence it," said Kotorashvili.
 
General Director Amiran Gamkrelidze rejects the accusations coming from Moscow.
 
“We have no secrets here. We are not doing anything connected with biological weapons," said Gamkrelidze.
 
The director, who studied in Moscow in the 1980s, then invited Russia’s chief sanitary inspector to fly down to Tbilisi and tour the lab.
 
Indeed, politics - not science - may be behind the trade fight.
 
Two months from now, Georgians vote for a new president.
 
Mikheil Saakashvili, who tangled with Moscow for almost a decade, steps down due to term limits.
 
From Moscow, Chris Weafer analyzes the Kremlin’s strategy:
 
“The message could not be clearer: if you elect a different president with a more friendly stance to Russia, then these economic problems will disappear. If you elect somebody that maintains this belligerent attitude toward Russia, then economic ties will deteriorate," said  Weafer.
 
Meanwhile, out of the spotlight, the same Russian food safety agency that banned Georgian fruits and vegetables back in 2006, quietly sent its inspectors back to Georgia in August.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid