Tourists forced to wait 6-10 hours on Russian-Georgian border
Long waiting times of six to 10 hours at the Verkhny Lars checkpoint on the Russian-Georgian border have given rise to outrage among tourists.
A number of people have demanded that the border guards working at the checkpoint be fired. A petition was put up on the Petition President website on 30 July, and has more than 2,800 signatures as of the date of publication.
The Caucasian Knot wrote that tourists who crossed on 20 August reported that they only had to wait four hours at the border, as opposed to the earlier six or seven hours.
The Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations reported earlier on long waiting times at the Russian-Georgian border on 8 August. On 14 August the ministry reported that wait times were as long as ten hours. A day later, both the ministry and tourists estimated the wait time to be six hours. On 16 August, the Federal Customs Service reported that wait times had decreased by two to three hours, though tourists on social media sites wrote that they had to wait around seven hours.
“We got across in 4.5 hours,” wrote one woman on 20 August.
“I just got home. I spent the whole night at the border [checkpoint]. Cars didn’t move towards Georgia the entire night. I don’t know what the reason is and I couldn’t find a logical explanation,” wrote one man.
Another social media user published a photo of a stopwatch, which showed that he had crossed the border in 4 hours 17 minutes.
“The reason for the traffic is clear: They examine each and every bag. There are eight window stations to enter the country, and just one going out,” explained a Russian customs officer.
“I got through in three hours and 40 minutes. When we came to Georgia last week, we waited eleven hours,” wrote one woman.