Four Russian officers arrested as spies in Georgia in the worst row between the countries in years have returned to Moscow after being released.
They were handed over to the head of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Karel De Gucht, before boarding a Russian plane.
Georgia’s president said the transfer was not a response to Russian pressure.
BBC regional analyst Steven Eke says the impact of the new measures is likely to be severe as thousands of Georgian guest workers will effectively be stranded in Russia, unable to send home the earnings so many of their families depend on.
It is unclear if the sanctions decision was taken before the handover of the officers, who were arrested last week, was announced.
The officers were handed over to Mr De Gucht in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, in a ceremony broadcast live on Georgian television.
An unnamed official was shown reading out a statement telling them they were “accused of the crime of espionage against Georgia”, were “being deported from Georgia” and were “as of now forbidden to enter Georgian territory”.
Mr De Gucht has called for the restoration of transport and money transfer links.
Announcing the officers’ transfer, Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili said he wanted good relations with Russia, but Georgia could no longer be treated as a “the second-class backyard of… some kind of re-emerging empire”.
Russia had been using intimidation and blackmail, he said, and he repeated his allegation that a Russian spy ring had been operating in Georgia.
“The message to our great neighbour Russia is: ‘Enough is enough,'” he said.
The Moscow Times also reports this.
Some days ago I wrote about Russian opposition leader Litvinovich attack in March 2006. Well, now Publius Pundit writes about a new source of controlling the dissidents: psychiatry. From The Washington Post:
On March 23, police and emergency medical personnel stormed Marina Trutko’s home, breaking down her apartment door and quickly subduing her with an injection of haloperidol, a powerful tranquilizer. One policeman put her 78-year-old mother, Valentina, in a storage closet while Trutko, 42, was carried out to a waiting ambulance. It took her to the nearby Psychiatric Hospital No. 14. The former nuclear scientist, a vocal activist and public defender for several years in this city 70 miles north of Moscow, spent the next six weeks undergoing a daily regimen of injections and drugs to treat what was diagnosed as a “paranoid personality disorder. She is also very rude,” psychiatrists noted in her case file.
(…) Trutko is new evidence that Soviet-style forced psychiatry has reemerged in Russia as a weapon to intimidate or discredit citizens who tangle with the authorities, according to human rights activists and some mental health professionals. Despite major reforms in the early 1990s, some officials are again employing this form of repression. It quotes Lyubov Vinogradova, executive director of the Independent Psychiatric Association of Russia, stating: “Abuse has begun to creep back in, and we’re seeing more cases. It’s not on a mass scale like in Soviet times, but it’s worrying.”
En cuanto a la segunda cuestión, Publius Pundit menciona un artículo del Washington Post, en el que se denuncia cómo la policía rusa entró en la casa de la científica nuclear rusa y activista de derechos humanos, Marina Trutko, la pusieron una inyección de haloperidol, un poderoso tranquilizante y la llevaron en una ambulancia al hospital. Allí, fue diagnosticada de una desorden de personalidad paranoide, mientras la sometían a un régimen de inyecciones y drogas. Señala asimismo el artículo que Trutko es una nueva prueba -evidence- de que la psiquiatría ha emergido en Rusia como forma de tratamiento a los disidentes.