Russian Refugees in Georgia, II




flee military mobilization
army partial general (2)
panic border present (3)
cue Polaroid marathon (2)
queue cross (2) grow up (2)
pull support grow/grew/grown (2)
dare push (2) speak/spoke/spoken
capital speak out sleep/slept/slept
gosh deprive Kremlin (2)
willing exhausted it doesn’t matter
queue pull out spend/spent/spent (2)
relief security battlefield
safety overnight feel/felt/felt
risk continue repression
avoid peak (2) grow/grew/grown
exodus abandon begin/began/begun
local SIM card opposition
urge concern account (3)
policy force (3) permanently
settle foreign constitution
reason sense (3) federation
citizen weapon understand/understood/understood
picket activist resistance (2)
occupy territory volunteer (2)
dozen right (4) stand/stood/stood (2)
reach remind ultimate sacrifice
voice train (2) feel/felt/felt (2)
futile suppress come/came/come
IT repressive hear/heard/heard
huge internal government
riot external sacrifice (2)
regime legislation organization
fight destroy cut/cut/cut (2)
jail finance see/saw/seen (2)
game repressive downtown






When this war started, Ukrainian women and children were fleeing the Russian army. Now Russian men are fleeing their own military. Vladimir Putin’s partial mobilization has caused a general panic in Russia.

This was the cue on Russia’s border with Georgia: no food drinks or toilets. This man took five days to cross to Georgia. “I had to abandon my car,” he said. It’s been a marathon.

Eliya queued for 60 hours. “I only had four hours sleep; now I want to put myself into a washing machine.” And then he pulled out a Polaroid. “I want to live to see my daughter grow up.”

Nobody I spoke with said they supported this war, but until now they hadn’t dared to speak out.

Russian Man, one: “Everyone understands the reason we’re here is because of the man in the Kremlin — gosh they’ll kill me for that. But it doesn’t matter anymore; we’re safe and the main thing is we don’t have to kill anybody.”

The people that are coming through are exhausted, hungry, sleep deprived. In most cases people have to spend days in the queue. But their relief they have reached safety they have avoided the risk of being killed on a battlefield in Ukraine.

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Today downtown Tbilisi Georgia’s capital feels like little Moscow. It didn’t happen overnight; the Russian Exodus began even before the war, as repressions grew.

But since last week’s mobilization the number of Russians entering Georgia peaked at more than 10,000 a day and they can stay here without a Visa for up to a year.

Their opening bank accounts and queuing for local SIM cards.

Opposition politicians are urging the government to end this open door policy.

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Salome Samadashvili, Lelo Party: “It’s a great security concern first of all if we have large numbers of Russian citizens basically settling down here permanently.

Using force and using the Russian army to protect Russian citizens in foreign lands and the foreign countries is the right, the constitutional right, of the Russian Federation.

We understand that the Russians are in a sense weaponizing their citizens.

Georgian activists picketed the Border this week to remind the new arrivals about their own war with Russia in 2008, over South Ossetia. Twenty percent (20%) of Georgian territory is still occupied by Russian forces.

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Georgians stand with Ukraine hundreds of them have volunteered to fight there — and more than a dozen have made the ultimate sacrifice.

People feel very strongly here that Russians who came to Georgia have a job to do back home.

Salome Samadashvili, Lelo Party: “If the Russian citizens today are unhappy — as they should be — with their government, I very much hope that they will make their voices heard in their own country.”

But put that to the new Russians in Exile many of their middle class educated professionals like Vadim, and they will tell you that resistance in today’s Russia is futile.

Vadim Gusev, IT Developer: “There is a huge repressive machine, that is the internal riot police, of about 400k people, almost half a million people who are trained to suppress protests.

And any political organization that was still present in Russia, they got destroyed. Their finance was cut. Their leaders were put in jails.

I don’t see how anyone in Russia can affect the situation, how they can fight the regime. Th regime put like 10 years of repressive legislation to make it not possible it was like a long game for them.”

There’s no going back for these new arrivals while this war continues. In Russia they were willing to live with the war or ignore it until the call for mobilization came. Now they will be reminded of it wherever they go.

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Georgia. Everyone, men, women and children, is fleeing Ukraine and Russia. Is this right or wrong?

Armenia. Is crossing into Georgia very easy? Are they here on vacation?

Ukraine. The Russians coming to Georgia are jingoistic, hawkish and warlike. True or false?

Belarus. Are there only a few foreigners in Georgia, mostly German and American tourists? Are the Russians busy visiting museums, monuments, cathedrals in Tbilisi?

Poland. Everyone in Georgia welcomes the Russian draft dodgers or refugees. Is this correct or incorrect? Are the Georgians xenophobic?

Turkey. What does Salome, the Georgian politician, recommend or suggest?

Finland. Is it easy and straightforward to protest and demonstrate in Russia?
Sweden. My city and country has refugees and asylum seekers. Yes or no? If yes, who are they? Where do they come from? Why are they here?

Romania. Have there been refugees from your country? Why have they fled?

Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia. Why has caused the current situation in Russia?

Germany. Would you like to travel or tour Georgia and Armenia?

Slovakia. What could or should people do?

Hungary. What might happen in the future?

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