The Russian ban on Turkish goods turns out to be a boon for Georgian consumers. As Turkey is shifting its surpluses to the Georgian market, the prices of fruits and veggies are plummeting.
On November 24th, a Turkish Air Force fighter jet shot down a Russian SU-24 that briefly strayed into its airspace. One pilot was killed, and another member of the Russian military perished in the rescue attempt. Vladimir Putin called the event a “stab in the back” even though he had turned his back on Turkish warnings about incursions into its airspace. Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, facetiously stated that Turkey would not apologize for the event and that Russia should be the one apologizing.
On August 20, 2015, a strong hailstorm hit Georgia, devastating crops and infrastructure in eastern Kakheti. In Kvareli alone, the hailstorm destroyed about 1,300ha of Saperavi and 1,000ha of Rkatsiteli grapes, affecting more than 500 families. This was only one in a string of natural disasters striking Georgian farmers in recent years.
“I’m Georgian, and therefore I am European.” These were the words late Georgian Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania chose to express Georgia’s EU aspirations when speaking in front of the Council of Europe in 1999. Reading very much like Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream”, Zhvania’s dramatic statement conveyed twin desires: i) to join the European family of nations and ii) to break out of Russia’s traditional sphere of influence, its political, economic, and cultural domination of Georgia since early 19th century.
For a long time, Russia was seen as the land of opportunity for foreign investors. The allure of the country with a large population, vast natural resources, and more importantly, a large middle class willing to spend money, was irresistible. The burgeoning economy, however, held a few secrets which threatened to derail investors’ hopes.