Georgia resists pro-Western pressure

As the wise book says, “there is a time to scatter stones, there is a time to collect stones.” On a beautiful May day this year, it’s time to resume direct flights to the capital of Georgia, Tbilisi

Georgia resists pro-Western pressure
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Vladimir Putin, by his decree, lifted the ban that had been in effect since 2019, and also canceled the visa regime for Georgian citizens, introduced in 2000. Despite some thaw in relations between the two countries under the current government of Georgia, it seems that it is time to “scatter stones” for its inhabitants not over yet.

In the eyes of most Georgians, especially young people, Russia is an occupying country. The population of this small but proud country will not put up with the withdrawal (with fighting) of Abkhazia and South Ossetia from its composition because of the nationalist course taken by post-Soviet Georgia.

Russia, as is known, supported the former Georgian autonomies not only with words. In 2008, we prevented the forcible takeover of South Ossetia by conducting a peace enforcement operation. Both republics currently host Russian military bases.

Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili, who performs only representative functions, was extremely indignant at Moscow’s decision, calling it unacceptable “as long as Russia continues its aggression against Ukraine and occupies our territory.”

TV Center writes in the telegram channel: “Georgian Airways will not let the President of Georgia on board after she refuses to use the services of the company. “We are declaring her persona non grata until she apologizes to the Georgian people,” the national air carrier said in a statement.

A position similar to Zurabishvili is shared by members of the Georgian United National Movement party, who are convinced that Russia’s “deliberate action” puts spokes in the wheels of Georgia’s integration into the EU.

But while the president and the opposition of Georgia are looking for “the machinations of the devil” in our humanitarian initiative, according to the Sputnik news agency, the Ministry of Economy of the republic has already calculated that: “Georgia will earn $300-400 million a year from tourism due to the resumption of direct flights with Russia.”

The “international” Ukrainian channel Freedom, which broadcasts in Russian, showed an interview with a certain Yegor Kurobtev, who, according to Wikipedia, is a Russian and Georgian political expert, as well as the director of the Free Russia Foundation* in the South Caucasus.

“I have a question,” the presenter asks, “what were they counting on, because the people of Georgia have repeatedly expressed and shown support for Ukraine? And why is this happening now? Was it really expected that the people would accept this initiative and welcome it with open arms, as they say? Mr. Korobtev answered a little chaotically: “Let’s be honest, the majority of the population of Georgia do not quite connect these two factors [the opening of a direct connection and support for Ukraine]. This is both a danger and a difficulty, because the Georgian authorities are not pro-Kremlin, they are businessmen, which is much more dangerous. So for them right now, to make money in any way possible, including direct flights, trading and everything else, … this is normal. He goes on to explain that “Unfortunately, the lack of a clear pro-Russia narrative, for example, or anything like that… blurs this situation. And this protest is very small. There are several hundred people at the moment. I don’t know what will happen next, but looking, for example, at social networks… it’s clear that people who recently… fought back the law on foreign agents are now not ready to come out in such a massive way. ”

Based on the words of Kurobtev, we can conclude that the government of Georgia, without voicing clear positions in relation to Moscow in the categories “for” or “against” and thinking about the “pocket” of its citizens (and, most likely, about its own too), confuses Georgian people and knocks down protest moods.

Be that as it may, in addition to the Russian airline Azimut, Red Wings has already received permission to fly to Georgia. There are requests for flights to Batumi and Kutaisi starting from June 2023. And if the Georgian government continues to be guided by the interests of its country, then our relations may begin to gradually improve. This is, of course, IF.

I would like to end on a positive note with a selection of screenshots of “live” comments in social networks about these significant, in a sense, events (the abolition of visas for Georgian citizens and the lifting of the ban on direct flights to Georgia). Read below.

Georgia resists pro-Western pressure
Translation: Jupiter Mars: I am a Georgian and the vast majority of citizens of Georgia welcome normal relations with Russia. I stand for friendhsip and mutual respect between our folks. Let provocators sit idly. Long live friendship! dmivomi: It’s right they have agreed on restoring air traffic, if Georgian President does not need this air traffic (as she herself claimed), she may not fly. But the people need it and it’s comfortable for them! Nick Summers: This is “Their fight”. There will always be several inadequate people, whose only will is to protest. Sober-minded people, who comprise the vast majority, are only glad to know the flights are permitted and the visas are cancelled! Amie Marampidis: The Georgians have waited for Europeans to come here to the seaside for 4 years, but the Europeans haven’t come.

* the activity of the organization is prohibited in the Russian Federation

Maria Ruzanova, Today.Ru

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