Consequences of Russian Embargo on Georgia
The ban imposed by the Russian President on flights from Russia to Georgia took effect. It could deal a serious blow to the economy of the country
The Russian government’s ban on direct flights between Russia and Georgia came into effect on Monday, affecting thousands of travelers.
The flight ban deals a serious economic blow to the South Caucasus nation, which has annually hosted more than a million Russian tourists.
Rusudan Japaridze, a tour guide from Tbilisi, said the shut down of flights has caused havoc in business for Russian language tour guides and operators.
“It is a total collapse for the segment that worked for the Russian market. The complete session, tours planned until September or October are totally disrupted. Around 80% of Russian language tour guides or Russian language companies are without work,” tour guide Rusudan Dzhaparidze said.
Russian tourist Marina Bondareva said she did not think the embargo would stop people from visiting.
“Of course the fact that there is a ban on direct flights is not good. I like Georgia very much and, together with my family, I will come here via other countries or via car. I do not think that flights (ban) will stop tourists coming to Georgia because anyone who has been here, they will definitely return,” Russian tourist Marina Bondareva said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin introduced the embargo last month following violent protests in the Georgian capital Tbilisi, set off by the visit of a Russian lawmaker to the parliament.
His appearance stoked long-held animosity over Russia’s support for the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
The move carries echoes of Russia’s full ban on transport links with Georgia in 2006 amid rising tensions between Moscow and Tbilisi.