MOSCOW, November 5 (RIA Novosti) - Russia has granted refugee status to a former Georgian officer, a Russian Federal Migration Service (FMS) spokesman said on Thursday.
Georgian coastguard officer Lt. Alik Bzhaniya crossed into the former Georgian republic of Abkhazia in May and requested political asylum from Russia in June.
Bzhaniya said his decision to desert was connected to his dislike for the policies of President Mikheil Saakashvili. Georgia said he had already been dismissed over disciplinary violations.
Russia and Georgia fought a five-day war in August 2008 which began when Georgian forces attacked South Ossetia in a bid to bring it back under central control.
Two weeks after the end of the war, Russia recognized Abkhazia and South Ossetia, another former Georgian republic, as independent states.