Increased number of Russian tourists traveling to Georgia “confused” the Russian authorities, who are now trying to scare their own citizens away from visiting Georgia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) of Georgia said in a statement on April 12.
Earlier on the same day the Russian Foreign Ministry recommended Russian citizens “to refrain from traveling” to Georgia because of “absence of security” there for the Russian citizens.
“The Georgian President’s initiative to unilaterally lift visa requirements for the Russian citizens has triggered a significant increase in number of tourists willing to travel to Georgia from Russia,” the Georgian MFA said.
“The Russian authorities are obviously confused,” it said. “Initially they refused to reciprocate [by lifting visa rules for the Georgian citizens] for absurd pretexts and then tried and are still trying to scare their own citizens with trumped-up threats.”
It said that the Russian Foreign Ministry’s statement showed Moscow was “against not only the Georgian authorities, but also against normal relationship and friendship between Russian and Georgian people.”
“The Russian authorities have a serious fear that falseness of Russia’s official propaganda and fallacious nature of Russian leadership’s policy towards Georgia is becoming obvious for more and more Russian citizens as a result of their visits to Georgia,” the Georgian MFA said.
It also said that this attempt by the Russian leadership to scare its citizens away from visiting Georgia would not work and the Russian citizens would themselves see that there’s no risk whatsoever in travelling to Georgia.
Georgian President’s spokesperson, Manana Manjgaladze, said on April 10 that since Georgia’s unilateral decision to lift visa rules with Russia on February 29, number of visits from Russia reached 30,000, which, she said, was a 70% increase over the same period of last year.