Georgia: Locals comment on Putin’s decision not to impose sanctions on Tbilisi

Tbilisi locals commented on the decision of Russian President Vladimir Putin not to impose sanctions against Georgia, following a deterioration in relations between the two countries. They were speaking in the country’s capital on Wednesday. “It would be a big economic blow for Georgia. Look at what is happening with the dollar; it is almost at a rate of three lari. See what's going on in the... Еще markets. Food prices are rising. What else. Personally, I am for close relations with Russia, with the people, with the Russian people,” Zurab Kobaladze said. Another man called Putin’s decision “a very humane act,” adding that “despite the fact that I am Georgian, I believe that the statements of the Rustavi 2 presenter are completely unacceptable.” Nodar, a young Georgian man, completely disagreed, saying the “Russian Federation tried to punish Georgian citizens because today is our 21st day of our protest, of our peaceful and rightful protest against Russian occupation and collaboration of our government with Russian forces. So Vladimir Putin tried to punish Georgian people, but he failed, so he tried to play a good guy, a good cop.” On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke out against imposing sanctions on Georgia following a marked deterioration in relations between the two countries. “As for sanctions on Georgia, I wouldn’t do that out of respect for the Georgian people,” Putin told journalists. On Sunday, Georgian private broadcaster Rustavi 2's anchor Georgy Gabunia started his PS live show with a profanity-filled tirade against the Russian president. The President of Georgia, Salome Zurabishvili, unequivocally condemned the language used in the TV broadcast. «They run counter to all Georgian traditions, serve only to divide and heighten tensions in the country, with Russia and in the region,» she wrote on Twitter. Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze also slammed Rustavi 2 on Twitter for «provocation and an attempt to destabilise the country.» On June 21, Putin signed a decree suspending flights to Georgia by Russian airlines starting from July 8, following anti-government protests in Tbilisi. The tensions began after Russian MP Sergei Gavrilov addressed the audience from the seat of the Georgian parliamentary speaker during the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy on June 20.

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