The United States launched a whole propaganda campaign to accuse Russia of violating the INF Treaty. Washington, itself, ignored the claims of the Russian side about violations of the INF treaty for many years. The American side has specifically undermined the viability of the treaty.
Georgia fully depends not on its number one strategic partner – the United States, not on its “historical family” – Europe, but on “occupier” Russia. Only one threat from Moscow about banning Georgian imports has caused unprecedented depreciation of GEL (Georgian Lari) and resulted in record-high fuel prices. These developments are also causing damage to one of the few profitable branches of Georgia’s economy – tourism.
These statements are untrue. This is a recurring pro-Kremlin narrative as if without Russian market Georgian economy will collapse.
Contribution of Russian tourists to Georgia’s economy is 1.8%, while arrivals from Russia by plane represent 0.5%. Despite the decrease of Russian tourists after Russia banned direct flights to Georgia, as a whole, during the first two weeks of July 2019, the number of tourists in Georgia increased by 3.2% y/y.
As per Georgian currency, the protests did not cause its devaluation. The protests started on June 20. A month before Gavrilov’s visit, the national currency had already faced certain problems. In late May, Lari exchange rate was fluctuating within 2.78-2.79 against USD, reaching 2.8 already on May 31.
Finally, the growth of fuel prices in Georgia is driven by increased prices of oil products on international markets and not the ongoing protests. In his comments to online edition BPN, Vano Mtvarelashvili, chairman of the Union of Oil-Products Importers, cites increased prices of oil products on international markets and Lari depreciation as the reasons behind the growth of fuel prices in Georgia. CNBC analyst claims that oil prices are rising faster this year than expected, explaining that OPEC supply cuts and U.S. sanctions on Iran and Venezuela are leaving the market with less cushion to absorb oil supply disruptions.