Russian politicians were voting last night on a motion fiercely condemning Georgia's pro-Western leadership as an anti-Georgia campaign gathered steam after Moscow imposed sweeping sanctions on the small neighbouring state.
The dispute looked set to persist after Russia rejected Western calls to end its blockade of its impoverished Caucasus neighbour. Police meanwhile were targeting the large Georgian population in Moscow with raids of businesses and restaurants.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said a transport and postal stranglehold slapped on Tbilisi on Tuesday would stand despite Monday's release by Georgia of four Russian officers whose arrest last week angered the Kremlin.
Lavrov said the measures were aimed at cutting off criminal flows of money he claimed was being used by the Georgian leadership to increase its military might in preparation for the "forceful seizure" of two pro-Russian breakaway regions.
But the real aim appears to be to punish Georgia's President Mikhail Saakashvili for his defiance of Russia through the detention of its officers on spying charges. The dispute also reflects Kremlin alarm at Tbilisi's goal of Nato membership and the growing US influence in its former Soviet backyard.
A Kremlin official said the sanctions would not be lifted until Georgia ended its "hostile rhetoric" toward Russia.
The Russian parliament is set to consider a bill that would allow the government to bar Georgians living in Russia from sending money home.