The ruling Georgian Dream party head, Irakli Kobakhidze, on Friday dismissed the opposition’s and NGOs’ allegations over the “serious increase” in Russian arrivals, claiming that as of July 31 there were about 110,000 Russian citizens in Georgia.
He said that there could be “no more than 20,000” who would stay in the country.
Kobakhidze stressed that the “radical opposition and their affiliated forces” were trying to incite xenophobia and “drag Georgia into Russia’s war in Ukraine”.
Transparency International Georgia said in its findindings on Wednesday that Georgia has received 240,000 Russian tourists and about 6,400 Russian companies have been registered in Georgia between January and June 2022.
Prior to this, the Lelo for Georgia opposition party called for the imposition of visa requirements for Russians and Belarussians, pointing at security threats as the influx was “uncontrolled”.