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Massive rally calling for improved relations with Russia held in Georgia (VIDEOS)

Massive rally calling for improved relations with Russia held in Georgia (VIDEOS)
Thousands have rallied in Georgia’s port city of Batumi, calling for an improvement in rocky relations with Russia which have strained even further over the last few months.

The gathering was staged by the opposition ‘Alliance of Patriots of Georgia’ party. Despite the heat, the rally attracted at least 20,000 people, according to the event’s organizers.

“Our main demand to the [country’s] leadership – is to see at last what the people really want. We should start a direct dialogue with Tskhinval, Sukhum and Moscow,” the party’s leader, Irma Inanishvili, said as cited by RIA Novosti.

The politician was referring to the republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which Georgia considers to be breakaway regions. Russia recognized them as independent states following a brief war instigated by former President Mikhail Saakashvili in 2008. The conflict resulted in hundreds of deaths, including Russian peacekeepers.

Relations between Moscow and Tbilisi have been tense over the past decade and they’ve deteriorated over the past few weeks. The present difficulties began when violent protests erupted in the Georgian capital after the head of the Russian delegation to the joint-session of the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy (IAO) took the seat of Georgia’s parliamentary speaker and nationalists found it “insulting.”

Following the demonstrations, Moscow suspended all Russian flights to and from the country, deeming it unsafe to travel there due to the spike in Russophobia. That decision had a mixed effect, with some in Georgia calling for their government to mend relations with their neighbor, while others poured oil onto the fire.

One Georgian TV host issued a profanity-filled rant in Russian, addressing President Vladimir Putin, which prompted calls in Russia to ban imports from the country. Putin, however, dismissed the idea out of “respect” for the Georgian people, stating that the TV host and his actions were too insignificant for that type of reaction.

Also on rt.com ‘Unparalleled meanness’: Moscow hits back at Georgian TV host’s foul-mouthed rant about Putin

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