723 Russian citizens have received Georgian citizenship in 2022
Russian citizens in Georgia
According to the Institute for the Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI), so far a total of 1,598 people received Georgian citizenship, of whom 723 are Russian citizens, in 2022. After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, 551 Russian citizens and eight Ukrainian citizens received Georgian citizenship as an exception.
Citizenship is granted to a citizen of a foreign state as an exception if they possess special merit for Georgia or it is in the interest of the state.
For example, a citizen who considers Georgia to be his homeland, and a family member is a person living in the occupied territory or is a displaced person; or a person who emigrated at various times due to political views or a dire economic situation.
An exception is also made for those who make investments in Georgia or who make a significant contribution to the development of the economy, as well as successful people in the field of sports, science and art, and who want to continue their activities on behalf of Georgia.
In 2018-22, only 8,464 people received Georgian citizenship, of which 72% or 6,075 people are Russian citizens, the IDFI document says. During the same period, 428 Ukrainians received Georgian citizenship. Lastly, 404 Armenian and 330 American citizens were granted citizenship.
“An analysis of the statistical data on granting Georgian citizenship shows that over the past five years, Georgian citizenship has been granted mainly to Russian citizens. An even greater increase in the desire of Russian citizens to obtain Georgian citizenship is expected, given the situation that has developed after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022 (expected long-term sanctions, persecution of people with different views, etc.),” the organization reports.
IDFI claims to have collected this data based on information received from the presidential administration.
“It is impossible to assess the impact of the Russian-Ukrainian war on the growth of the desire of Russian citizens to acquire Georgian citizenship, based on the actual indicators provided to them only for a short period. And for a full assessment, access to comprehensive data is required, which relates to the fulfillment of conditions for obtaining citizenship,” the document says.
Also, from the response of the Agency for the Development of Public Services to David Usupashvili’s deputy request, it was revealed that this year more than 600 companies were created in Georgia by Russian citizens, and 2,000 Russian citizens received a residence permit.
It can also be seen from the statistics of the Ministry of Justice that from February 24 to May 1, 3,386 citizens of the Russian Federation and 2,363 citizens of the Republic of Belarus were registered as individual entrepreneurs in Georgia.
It is not known in what fields these entrepreneurs are working; however, the House of Justice states that “individual entrepreneur” is a much sought-after status, which Georgian citizens are also interested in.
The opposition parties Lelo and Droa have demand the introduction of a visa policy for Russian citizens. Droa also demands the introduction of special fees for Russian tourists. A petition prepared by activists gathered 20,000 signatures in two days.