Georgian opposition to meet with Russian MPs weeks after major anti-Russian protests

A delegation of Georgian parliamentarians is expected to visit Moscow today to meet with Russian lawmakers. The visit comes in

georgia russia

Photo: Reuters/Irakli Gedenidze

A delegation of Georgian parliamentarians is expected to visit Moscow today to meet with Russian lawmakers.

The visit comes in an effort to quell tensions after violent, anti-Russian protests took place on June 20 across Georgia. The riots erupted when a visiting Russian lawmaker was allowed to chair a session of Georgia’s Inter-Parliamentary Assembly. The ensuing unrest led to Russian President Vladimir Putin placing a travel ban on Georgia a day later, which came into force on July 8.

The ban directly threatens Georgia’s tourism industry, which adds some $63 billion to the economy annually—nearly 8% of GDP. Russian tourists make up the majority of international visitors, having accounted for 1.4 million arrivals last year. Two million tourists were expected to visit this year, prior to the ban.

Expect relations to gradually normalise as the government—led by the pro-west Georgian Dream Party, which has pursued normalisation with Russia since it assumed power in 2012—continues to de-escalate tensions. The dispute highlights the continual sway that Russia exerts on Georgia not only through Moscow’s de-facto control over two separatist regions of the country but also through its significant influence on Georgia’s economy.

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