"Georgia chooses Russia and its future," claim pro-government Russian media
Russia praises Georgia for “resistance to the West”
Once again Russian media are praising the Georgian authorities for their “sensible policy” chosen, supposedly, “despite pressure from Ukraine and the West.” Russian state agency RIA Novosti published an article titled “Georgia Chooses Russia and Its Future,” which speaks approvingly of the increase in imports from Russia to Georgia and the strengthening of economic relations between the two countries.
According to the article, in 2023 oil imports increased by 275%.
Furthermore, the text states that according to the Union of Oil Product Importers of Georgia, liquefied natural gas purchases in the country grew by a third in the first quarter, and Tbilisi purchased petroleum products worth $250 million, of which $168 million came from Russian imports.
Further that, according to official statistics, trade turnover between Georgia and Russia in the first two months of this year increased by 48 percent compared to the corresponding period of the previous year, over $467 million.
After the start of the Russian-Ukrainian war in February 2022, Georgia categorically refused to impose economic sanctions against Russia, as stated in the article.
According to the authors, this caused a major political scandal when Kyiv directly accused Tbilisi of betrayal, reminding that Ukraine openly supported [Georgia] during the August 2008 Russo-Georgian war.
“Ignoring the strong Russophobia prevailing among a part of the population, Georgian parliamentarians have shown significant foresight. Well, either they are better at mathematics or they have a clearer understanding.
The parliament practically ignored all the Russophobic outbursts of President Zourabichvili and did not even hinder the resumption of direct air communication, which was launched at the personal initiative of Vladimir Putin,” the article states.
The author says that the mayor of Tbilisi, Kakha Kaladze, stated in an interview with Western media that he acts in the interests of his fellow citizens, “even though he spent several years playing for Kyiv’s ‘Dynamo.'”
“Just a month ago, we discussed a truly epoch-making project to connect the railway branch of Resht-Astara, which practically creates a direct transportation corridor from Russia through Iran to the Indian port of Mumbai.
At that time, we briefly mentioned the potential of the Georgian direction, putting an ellipsis and a question mark in parentheses. The end of June showed that judging by the dynamics of changes in energy resource imports, we can cautiously expect the thawing of other interstate projects as well. They are critically important not only for Russia but also extremely beneficial for Georgia and the region as a whole.
Considering the rather ambiguous relations between Moscow and Tbilisi, it is especially pleasing to observe that while not friendship, healthy pragmatism brings much more benefit than suicidal leaps into the sanction pit and the rupture of trade relations,” the article concludes.
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This is not the first instance where high-ranking officials of the Russian Federation and government-controlled media have praised the Georgian authorities in front of Ukraine and the West.
On March 25th of last year, the Chairman of the Committee on International Affairs of the Russian Federation Council, Grigory Karasin, also lauded the Georgian authorities for their position on the Ukrainian issue. Karasin referred to Georgia’s response to the West’s anti-Russian sanctions as “balanced” and emphasized that “this fact will not go unnoticed” in Russia.
Furthermore, according to Karasin, all restrictions imposed on Georgian goods were lifted, and Georgia’s exports to Russia increased 14-fold.
During the year-end press conference in 2022, Sergey Lavrov stated that there are necessary dialogue mechanisms between Georgia, Abkhazia, and Tskhinvali, in which “Russia participates.” According to his explanation, Moscow advocates for building relations between Georgia and the occupied territories.
Lavrov also noted that Western countries and institutions are trying to “hold hostage” the events unfolding in Ukraine in the Geneva format, which, in his opinion, is “driven by political grievances and whims.”
On May 10th, the President of Russia signed a document to abolish the visa regime for Georgian citizens starting from May 15th, 2023. In a second decree, Putin lifted the ban on air communication from Russia to Georgia.