[JURIST] The Russian Foreign Ministry on Tuesday lashed out at the Georgian Republic [official backgrounder] for filing a lawsuit with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) [official website] alleging Russia violated the human rights of Georgian nationals during a deportation sweep last September. On Monday, Georgia lodged an application against Russia [press release] under the European Convention of Human Rights [PDF text], alleging that after Georgia police arrested four Russian soldiers on espionage charges [MosNews report] in September 2006, the Russian government retaliated [BBC report] by harassing Georgian nationals living and working in Russia. Russia on Tuesday characterized the ECHR lawsuit as an "unfriendly act harmful for bilateral relations," according to MosNews and RIA Novosti.
In October, the Georgian government publicly criticized Russia [JURIST report] for the alleged human rights violations. Russian President Vladimir Putin called for stricter immigration laws [JURIST report] soon after the four Russian soldiers were arrested, and Russian immigration officials responded by proposing harsher penalties for businesses that employ illegal migrants, restrictions on border crossings, amendments to the Criminal Code, and limits on the duration of visas distributed to certain nationalities. MosNews has more.