Russia – mobilization. How many Russians have come to Georgia? President Salome Zurabishvili released the data

Russia – mobilization. How many Russians have come to Georgia? President Salome Zurabishvili released the data

Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili reported that 700,000 Russians had entered Georgia since Vladimir Putin announced his mobilization for the war with Ukraine. As she added, many then moved to Armenia, Turkey and other countries, and every seventh person stayed in her country.

President Salome Zurabishvili said that “after summoning the president of Russia Vladimir Putin to the mobilization of the border Georgia more than 700,000 Russians. “- 600,000 most likely went in different directions: to the neighboring Armenia, Turkey and European countries. Almost 100,000 are left, she added. The statement by the Georgian president was provided by the Ukrainian portal Suspilne.

Zurabishvili also said that Georgia had accepted nearly 30,000 Ukrainian refugees.

READ: “You can go into the bar as long as you condemn Putin.” How Georgians educate Russians in Tbilisi

Russians at the border crossing with Georgia (photo from September 2022)ZURAB KURTSIKIDZE / EPA / PAP

Mobilization in Russia

On September 21, Putin issued a decree mobilizing for the war against Ukraine, according to which about 300,000 people were to be appointed under arms. reservists. The Russian authorities claim that the mobilization is over, but it is not accompanied by an official decree approving this state of affairs. There are also contradictory data on the number of mobilized people who have already hit the front. Putin said on November 4 there were 49,000. Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu previously gave the number 87,000.

After mobilization was ordered, hundreds of thousands of Russians left the country to avoid being sent to war. Those who escaped from being drafted into the army were guided by, inter alia, to Finland, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Georgia.

Georgian dispute over approach to Russia

The approach of the government in Tbilisi to the activities of the Kremlin and the influx of Russians to Georgia is ambiguous. The authorities condemned the invasion of Ukraine but decided not to impose sanctions. The government maintained its policy of visa-free entry to the country, although it “reportedly also refused entry to several high-profile Putin critics,” the Washington Post noted.

The Georgian authorities – which have had a war with Russia in 2008 – want to avoid another. Commentators emphasize that after 14 years, Russia is still not fulfilling the ceasefire agreement and is expanding its control over the illegally occupied territories of Georgia – Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali Region / South Ossetia. Georgia, however, depends on remittances from its citizens working in Russia. It is also not without significance that for the local tourism industry, Russian guests have been a significant source of income for many years.

Explaining the policy towards Moscow, Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili said that his country “cares about national interests”. Eka Sepashvili, a parliamentarian who recently left the ruling Georgian Dream party, said Georgia was “taking a pragmatic position towards Russia”.

Georgia lost the war with Russia in South OssetiaGetty Images

The opposition points out that the Georgian Dream was founded by “an oligarch who made a fortune in Russia” and believes that the party “turned the country away from the West while trying to maintain a peaceful relationship with Putin.” In the background, there are fears that Putin may cause a conflict in Georgia under the pretext of defending the Russian minority living here. “Russia wants to destroy Georgia’s statehood,” said Giga Bokeria, leader of the European Georgia political party.

Main photo source: ZURAB KURTSIKIDZE / EPA / PAP

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