Hundreds of Russian citizens have arrived in Georgia since the beginning of the war in Ukraine with the intention of staying in Tbilisi.
“I decided to stay here, until something changes,” one man explained. “I was here last month, before all that unpleasant mess. I don’t want to be in the country which rages a war that is why I arrived.”
Another tells Euronews he plans to stay for a while. “I don’t know how long I will stay here, but this year I definitely will [stay here], Some months, a year, maybe even more.”
There are no major problems booking hotels but apartments are harder to come by.
Since mid-March more than 30,000 Russians arrived in the country and more than 12,500 are still there.
Lasha Dzebisashvili is a Professor at the University of Georgia and says the numbers create some tension.
“During the entire month you have a ten-fold increase of Russians arriving in Georgia,” he explains.
“It causes some suspicion, whether these are real refugees or politically driven out from Russia as they try to save their businesses etc.
“Or whether these are so called subversive elements who have some special purpose in Georgia.”
Georgian security agencies fear some Russian paramilitary groups may arrive.