Once, Russia and Georgia country were part of the Soviet Union together, and today Georgia is one of the ten most popular foreign destinations for Russians – even despite the difficult political relations between the two countries. gointer.ru collected interesting facts about Georgia, one way or another related to finances.
- 1. Russians do not need a visa to travel to Georgia country
- 2. But Georgians do not need a visa to Europe
- 3. You can go to jail for visiting Abkhazia
- 4. Airplanes do not fly from Moscow to Georgia country and trains do not travel
- 5. The monetary unit of Georgia is GEL
- 6. The average salary in Georgia is quite low
- 7. But the conditions for doing business in Georgia are better than in the USA.
- 8. There are paid elevators in Georgian houses
- 9. Georgian wine is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
- 10. Borjomi belongs to the Russian structure of Alfa Group
1. Russians do not need a visa to travel to Georgia country
Russians can enter Georgia without a visa – according to a foreign passport. You can stay in the country continuously for a year. After this period, you should go abroad or obtain a temporary or permanent residence permit.
Tourists who come to Georgia by car will have to leave the country within 90 days after entry. This rule applies to vehicles registered outside of Georgia.
2. But Georgians do not need a visa to Europe
In March 2017, Georgia and the European Union established a visa-free regime. Now Georgians who have biometric passports can freely visit 30 countries in Europe, including all the countries of the Schengen zone, as well as Bulgaria, Cyprus, Romania and Croatia, and stay there for 90 days in a 180-day period.
According to the Georgian passport, you can also travel without visas to 29 other countries – for example, Iran, Qatar, Argentina or Israel. According to the passport index of Henley & Partners, Georgia ranks 52nd out of 109, losing one position to Russia.
At the same time, to visit Russia, Georgian citizens need to apply for a visa. To do this, they will definitely need an invitation from a citizen of the Russian Federation (tourist visas to Russia are not issued to Georgians). The cost of such a visa starts at $ 80 (5040 ₽).
3. You can go to jail for visiting Abkhazia
Georgians consider Abkhazia and South Ossetia occupied territories and forbid foreigners to cross the border of these territories from Russia. The punishment for such a violation of Georgian laws is a fine or imprisonment for a term of two to four years. At the same time, the authorities of Abkhazia and South Ossetia are forbidden to enter their territory, on the contrary, from the Georgian side. It turns out that it is impossible to visit these republics and not violate anyone’s laws.
However, visiting the occupied territories in Georgia is rarely punished: in 2016, for example, only 19 violations of this law were recorded. Russians can enter Abkhazia and South Ossetia from Russia using a common passport, while no markings are made on visiting these territories.
4. Airplanes do not fly from Moscow to Georgia country and trains do not travel
In June 2019, the President of Russia signed a decree banning flights of Russian airlines to Georgia. The next day, the Ministry of Transport suspended the work of Georgian airlines in Russia (both bans came into effect on July 8). And although the Russian authorities do not exclude that air traffic between the countries will resume, at the time of writing this article it is impossible to fly directly from Moscow to Tbilisi (and vice versa).
However, tourists can still travel from Russia to Georgia in three different ways.
Indirect flights. The fastest flight – with a change in Yerevan – takes 3 hours 35 minutes (a joint flight of Georgian Airways and Armenia Aircompany). There are also flights through Minsk, Istanbul, Nur-Sultan (the former name of the city is Astana) and other cities. According to Tutu.ru, with a ban on direct flights, the cost of tickets to Georgia from Moscow increased by 34%. The cost of the cheapest flight from Moscow to Tbilisi and back for the first week of August (August 1 – 8) is now 17 173 ₽ (tickets were searched on July 22, 2019 using the Skyscanner service).
A car. The road from Moscow to Tbilisi passes through Tambov, Volgograd, Elista and Vladikavkaz (only 2000 km) and takes about 26 hours. The cost of such a trip will be approximately 10.5 thousand ₽ one way (with an average cost of gasoline 42 ₽ / l and a consumption of 8 km / l).
The bus. Buses from Moscow to Tbilisi, according to the schedule of the Yandex.Buses service, depart almost every day. Conversely – on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The cost of a trip to Georgia is 3 – 3,5 thousand ₽, back – 4,5 – 5 thousand ₽.
5. The monetary unit of Georgia is GEL
One lari consists of 100 tetri coins. Georgian currency to the ruble exchange rate: 1 GEL = 21.93 ₽ (as of July 22, 2019).
Due to the tense relations between Georgia and Russia and after the cancellation of direct flights between the two countries, the lari to the dollar fell to a historic low: from 2,787 lari per dollar (June 1) to 2.88 lari per dollar (July 22). However, the Central Bank of Georgia assured that there is nothing wrong with the country’s economy.
6. The average salary in Georgia is quite low
According to the Ministry of Statistics of Georgia, in 2017 (the latest available statistics), residents of the country earned an average of 999.1 GEL (21 910 ₽) per month. For comparison: in Russia in the same year, the average salary was 39 167 ₽ per month. Moreover, the income tax in Georgia is higher than in Russia: 20% of the earned funds.
The salary in Georgia, as in most countries, varies quite a bit from region to region. In Tbilisi, for example, the average salary in 2017 was 1209.4 GEL (26 522 ₽), and in the lowest-paid region – this is Guria, it is located on the Black Sea coast – residents received 554.1 GEL (12 151 ₽) per month.
7. But the conditions for doing business in Georgia are better than in the USA.
According to the World Bank’s Doing Business report for 2019, Georgia ranks sixth among 190 countries in terms of ease of doing business. She lost to New Zealand, Singapore, Denmark, Hong Kong and South Korea and overtook countries such as Norway, the United States and Great Britain.
At the same time, back in 2006, Georgia took 112th place in the rating, and in 2007 it rose to 37th place and became the most reformed country in the field of business, according to the compilers of the rating. Georgia has been able to achieve such results thanks to significant economic reforms. For example, in the country, the threshold of minimum capital necessary to start a new business was reduced 10 times, simplified procedures at the border and reduced taxes for entrepreneurs.
The Doing Business study is conducted annually: experts evaluate ten indicators for how easy it is to conduct business in a given country. Among the parameters taken into account are the number and cost of the procedures that must be completed to register a legal entity or register property, the number and size of taxes for business, the complexity of conducting international trade, and others.
8. There are paid elevators in Georgian houses
In some Georgian homes, elevator service fees are charged locally. It looks like this: on the wall of the elevator car there is a drawer with a slot where you need to throw a coin so that the elevator starts moving. Directions is 5, 10 or 20 tetra (1, 2, or 4 ₽). On old elevators – lifting strictly to one predetermined floor (sharing fare with neighbors will not work), but you will have to pay for the descent. New elevators are usually more expensive, but stopping the cab several times during the ascent and getting down on them is free.
9. Georgian wine is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
We are talking about the Georgian traditional method of winemaking in qvevri, which has been practiced in the wine region of Kakheti since ancient times. Kvevri are large clay vessels in which grapes with a vine are placed and then buried in the ground for six months. Thus, a unique wine is created, which in Europe is called orange, and in Georgia itself – amber.
Georgia exports most of all wine (of any sorts) to Russia – 84% of all deliveries abroad. Georgian wine is also popular among Russians: Georgia is the third country among the suppliers of this drink to our country (after Spain and Italy), Georgian wines account for 8 – 9% of the wine assortment in Russia.
From 2006 to 2013, the import of Georgian wine into Russia was discontinued (according to the official position of Rospotrebnadzor – due to inconsistencies with sanitary standards). In 2019, Rospotrebnadzor again banned the sale of alcoholic beverages from eight Georgian wine companies in Russia, and the Russian authorities returned to talk about restricting the import of Georgian wine into the country.
10. Borjomi belongs to the Russian structure of Alfa Group
The producer of the famous Borjomi mineral water, which is produced in Georgia, is IDS Borjomi. The controlling stake in this company (55.8%) since 2013 belongs to the Russian structure of Alfa Group.
In addition to Borjomi itself, IDS Borjomi also owns the brands Svyatoy source, Edelweiss and Morshinskaya. Alfa Group, in turn, owns Alfa-Bank, AlfaStrakhovanie insurance company, X5 Retail Group (owns retail chains Pyaterochka, Perekrestok, Carousel) and other assets.