Unrest at Tbilisi airport: how the plane from Russia was met, the reasons for the protests, the reaction of the world

Orientalist Tarasov suggested that Russia and Georgia will restore diplomatic relations

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On the afternoon of May 19, the first plane from Russia landed in Georgia in four years. This became possible thanks to the decree of President Vladimir Putin, who lifted the ban on air traffic between the two countries. The liner in the capital of the republic was met by a crowd of protesters. Representatives of the local opposition opposed the normalization of relations with the Russian Federation. What happened in the Georgian capital and who is interested in the deterioration of relations – in the material “360”.

Georgia has become closer

On the afternoon of May 10, President Vladimir Putin signed several documents relating to bilateral relations with Georgia. By the first decree, the head of state terminated the visa regime – citizens of the neighboring republic got the opportunity to stay in Russia on internal passports. The second decree lifted the ban on domestic flights to Georgia, a measure that has been in effect since 2019.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called the abolition of the visa regime and the resumption of air travel a “humanitarian” decision. According to him, the Georgian authorities reacted negatively and with restraint to what was happening.

Reaction to the decision

At the same time, the Ministry of Economy of the Republic stated that after the start of flights, the country will be able to earn from 300 to 400 million dollars in tourism during the year.

On the same day, representatives of the Georgian opposition staged a rally near the building of the country’s Foreign Ministry. They opposed the rapprochement of the two states and criticized the abolition of the visa regime. EU Foreign Service Representative Peter Stano urged the Georgian authorities not to let Russian planes in if the country plans to become a member of the EU.


Russian Azimuth and Red Wings aircraft will fly to Georgia, and Georgian Airways will fly to Russia. Its representatives reacted to the protests of the Georgian opposition.

“It can be seen with the naked eye that behind this campaign there are forces that are ready to go against the interests of their own country and people in order to justify foreign grants,” the carrier emphasized.

Riots at Tbilisi Airport

The Azimuth airliner landed in the air harbor of the capital of Georgia on the afternoon of May 19. At the airport, they prepared – they closed the waiting rooms, and also put up the police. As it turned out, not in vain. Soon there were representatives of the opposition party “Droa” (“Time”). They stretched out posters with offensive inscriptions and shouted insults at the passengers.



The most radical oppositionists tried to break through the convoy of law enforcement officers. The police coped with the onslaught of the protesters and did not let them into the terminal. But there were already local journalists. They tried to provoke the Russians and Georgians who arrived in Tbilisi by asking uncomfortable questions. Everything else went more or less smoothly.

Protest action in Georgia paid for

What has been happening over the past few days has both internal and external sponsors, orientalist Stanislav Tarasov told 360. He recalled that Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili opposed Russia.

Those who went to rallies against the abolition of the visa regime pursued their own goals.

“They tried to demonstrate that Georgia has not become completely pro-Russian, although Georgia has been behaving very positively lately, developing trade <...> This does not mean that Georgia has become pro-Russian <...> They perfectly understand the course of events and see the prospect. They already lost Abkhazia and South Ossetia in August 2008, otherwise they may lose [больше]”, — said the interlocutor of “360”.

According to him, the resumption of air traffic was a “psychological shock” for the people of the country. Now it will be convenient to fly not only to Georgia, but also to other states, because the republic will become a transit country.

“The action took place, the money was received, the operation was paid for – well, that’s it, it’s all over. The State Duma is openly discussing the restoration of diplomatic relations – that’s all, this will be the culmination. In the current situation, this is generally a breakthrough. For Russians, visas were not introduced, Georgians can fly without visas, as in Soviet times,” Tarasov added.

Earlier, US representatives warned Georgian companies about the possibility of imposing sanctions against them. This can happen if specialists begin to service Russian aircraft.


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