Kobuleti, Georgia – There are new protests in Georgia. This time, it’s the hospitality industry representatives who are rallying. Hoteliers took it to the streets in the resort town of Kobuleti. They demanded that the government repair the damage from the massive outflow of Russian tourists.
The West had a profoundly malign influence on Georgia. After the 2008 war when Georgia, led by probably the worst leader in its history and also instigated by NATO, stupidly attacked Russian peacekeepers in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which resulted in an absolute disaster for the Georgians, the country’s leadership has been fostering Russophobia ever since.
The two countries have never been at odds before. On the contrary. In the last 300 years, Russian troops saved Georgia from numerous Ottoman massacres and slave raids and Georgia was well-integrated into the Russian society, although it still kept its ancient culture virtually untouched. Although strained, the relations between the two countries were getting better. Russian tourists were a quite common sight in Georgia.
Then a Georgian TV host decided it was a good idea to spew horrendous insults about President Putin’s family. The Russian government made a decision for all flights from Georgia to Russia and vice versa to be canceled indefinitely. Many Georgians, appalled by the horrible words uttered by the TV host, took to the streets. Putin, on the other hand, refused to impose any additional sanctions, despite pressure from the Duma to do so.