The Georgian people welcome tourists from Russia with an open heart, and respectively, Georgia won’t benefit from the anti-Russian sentiment, the head of the Georgian State Security Service, Grigol Liluashvili, said in an interview with Imedi television on Wednesday.
“The anti-Russian sentiment will do it no good, as the people welcome a huge flow of tourists from Russia with an absolutely open heart. There is no aggression towards the Russian nation among the people, but there is an aggression regarding the policy of the Russian authorities towards Georgia and of course we do disagree with it,” Liluashvili said.
Within the context of Russophobia, he spoke negatively of a modest protest rally staged by local Georgians at Lado Meskhishvili Theater in Kutaisi (Imereti) during the past weekend because Russian actors from a Moscow theater were its guests. When the theater received “its colleagues, the company of a Moscow drama theater, our political and neo-political activists rushed there to try to prevent this event, as the guests were Russian nationals,” he said.
The Georgian and Russian leaders have not exchanged visits since 2008 after Moscow recognized the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and Tbilisi broke off diplomatic relations in response.
On September 26, Georgian Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani met with Russia’s top diplomat Sergey Lavrov on the sidelines of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly. That was the first high-level contact since 2008. So far, the only direct dialogue between the two countries’ officials has been maintained at regular meetings between the Georgian prime minister’s special representative and the Russian deputy foreign minister.