Irakli Kobakhidze, the Chairman of the ruling Georgian Dream party, on Friday called on the public to disassociate themselves from a “discriminatory campaign” against Russian citizens in Georgia, claiming the “sole purpose” of speculation on number of Russian nationals entering the country and calls for imposing visa requirement for them was “to turn Georgia into a second front” amid the war in Ukraine, and adding xenophobia and chauvinism “has never been and will never be” a part of Georgian culture.
Kobakhidze noted that the opposition United National Movement party - he referred to as the party of ‘war and betrayal’- its satellite parties and media outlets had launched a “completely shameful” xenophobic and chauvinistic campaign against Russian citizens in Georgia at the beginning of March.
With this campaign, they convinced a certain part of citizens that Russians were entering Georgia in an unprecedentedly large number, which, according to them, posed serious risks to the country's sovereignty and security. However, five months have passed since March, and everyone has become convinced that the influx of Russians in unprecedented numbers was a hoax concocted by the party of ‘war and betrayal’”, the GD official said.
He noted that the number of Russian citizens who entered Georgia this year was three times lower than in 2019.
If there is something that poses a serious threat to our country, it is precisely the xenophobic and chauvinist campaign. [...] The authors of the xenophobic campaign have nothing to do with true Georgian and European values. The xenophobia and chauvinism have never been and will never be a part of Georgian culture. We call on everyone to disassociate themselves from the anti-state and discriminatory campaign, the sole purpose of which is to turn Georgia into a second front”, he concluded in his comments.
Kobakhidze on Thursday rejected the calls of the Lelo for Georgia opposition party for imposing visa requirements for Russian and Belarusian citizens to prevent security threats in Georgia on the backdrop of Russia’s war in Ukraine by calling it a “deliberate, xenophobic campaign that is absolutely disgraceful”.
In his comments over the matter Kobakhidze stressed that there was no place for “xenophobia” in Georgia.