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Moscow’s new levers of pressure

Monday, September 22
Russian newspaper Izvestia recently published an article which suggested that Georgia was fighting Russia with money Georgians had accumulated in Russia and sent home to their own country. Such provocative statements are triggering a visible rise in the anti-Georgian sentiments in Russia which have already been bubbling away for several years.

The newspaper estimates that there are a million Georgians living in Russia legally and about a half a million illegally. Annually they transfer USD 1-2 billion to Georgia and the country’s military budget is USD 1 billion, says Izvestia.

Georgian businessmen in Russia possess assets worth around USD 50 billion, Izvestia says. However it thinks these businessmen are unlikely to be financing the Saakashvili administration. Therefore its article targets the Georgian criminal world in Russia, assessing the monthly turnover of Georgian criminal activity in Russia as USD 60 million. This means that Georgian criminals are making USD 600-800 million annually in Russia.

Most likely we should expect another bout of anti-Georgian hysteria in Russia, and possibly pogroms too.