Russia will resume direct flights to the Georgian capital Tbilisi today, facing criticism from Ukraine and the EU. Russian-Georgian relations
Russia will resume direct flights to the Georgian capital Tbilisi today, facing criticism from Ukraine and the EU.
Russian-Georgian relations have been tense especially since 2019; Russia banned air travel with Georgia in response to anti-Moscow rallies occurring in the country. Despite maintaining a largely neutral position amid the Russia-Ukraine war, Georgian authorities have recently been accused of forming closer ties with the Kremlin, shifting to a pro-Russia stance.
Georgia has expressed interest in developing closer tie with Europe: Georgia applied for EU membership along with Ukraine and Moldova in February 2022, though EU leaders decided against granting formal candidate status until Tbilisi implements more reforms. Georgia’s rapprochement with the EU appears less likely. In March, lawmakers moved to adopt a Russian-style bill which would have required non-governmental organizations that received more than 20% of their financing from outside to register as “agents of foreign influence.” Georgia later withdrew the bill after Brussels said the plan was inharmonious with EU membership.
Georgia’s recent activity has raised doubts that the country’s path to the EU. However, should Russia suffer a major defeat in Ukraine, it is possible that the Georgian opposition could win in the parliamentary elections in 2024. This would permit EU assistance to counter Russian influence networks in Georgia.