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

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Before burial at overflowing cemeteries, unidentified dead being swapped for DNA, in case some day relatives come to learn their fate

    Russian Opposition Leader Sues Putin for Conflict of Interest

    Alexei Navalny tells VOA in exclusive interview why transfer of $2 billion from country’s wealth fund to company with ties to President Putin’s son-in-law triggered lawsuit

    How Diversity Has Changed America

    Over the past four decades, the level of diversity in the United States has increased most in these four states

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Filli
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 11, 2016 8:01 PM
    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.