According to a study conducted by the American National Democratic Institute (NDI) in December last year, the majority of Georgian citizens are dissatisfied with their government’s policy towards migrants from Russia, and also advocate the introduction of a visa regime with the Russian Federation.
The fact that they do not approve of the policy of the Georgian government towards visitors from Russia was reported by 57% of respondents; 29% of respondents consider the approach of the authorities acceptable; another 14% do not know or refused to answer.
In addition, 69% of Georgian citizens polled by NDI are in favor of introducing entry visas for Russians, 21% are against, and 10% could not find what to answer. The vast majority of respondents (69%) believe that the migration of Russians to Georgia will have negative consequences.
The authors of the survey note that Georgians make a distinction between Russians and the Russian government. Thus, 80% of Georgian citizens have a negative attitude towards the government of the Russian Federation. At the same time, 56% of respondents reported a positive attitude towards the Russians themselves. A negative attitude towards the citizens of Russia was stated by 38% of the respondents.
Over the past year, there has been an increase in the number of Georgians who blame not Russia, but President Vladimir Putin for starting the war in Ukraine. In March 2022, Putin was blamed by 11% of those surveyed by NDI, and in December by 25%. At the same time, 54% of respondents blame Russia.
Georgia unilaterally abolished entry visas for Russians in 2012. This happened at the initiative of the then President of the country, Mikheil Saakashvili.
In 2022, Georgia was one of the most popular countries where Russians began to leave after the outbreak of a full-scale war. According to Rosstat, about 873,000 citizens of the Russian Federation went there last year.
After the start of mobilization, Russians subject to conscription began to arrive in Georgia. On average, according to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia, at the end of September, about 10-11 thousand Russians visited the country every day. In summer, during the tourist season, this number did not exceed 5-6 thousand. Many of them then went to third countries, mainly to Armenia and Turkey.
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