Russian tourists in Tbilisi on Saturday blamed politics for President Vladimir Putin’s decision to temporarily ban flights to Georgia by Russian airlines from July 8. Putin ordered the suspension of passenger flights from Russia to Georgia late on Friday following an outbreak of unrest and anti-Russian demonstrations in Tbilisi triggered by the visit of a Russian lawmaker.
The Kremlin said it was also recommending travel agencies suspend tours to Georgia from Russia. A number of Russian and Georgian airlines are operating regular flights between Russia and Georgia including Aeroflot which has 14 flights to Georgia per week in its summer schedule.
In 2008 Georgia and Russia fought a short war over the breakaway Georgian province of South Ossetia. The five-day war saw Russia strengthen its grip over largely pro-Russian South Ossetia, which had effectively been beyond Tbilisi’s control since 1990. Russian troops pushed through South Ossetia deep into Georgia before withdrawing.