Russian citizens have opened almost 110,000 bank accounts in Georgia since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine up to the end of 2022.
Details: The statistics cover the period from 24 February 2022 to 31 December 2022. According to these figures, 109,949 individual bank accounts and another 6,000 legal entity bank accounts were opened in Georgia by citizens of Russia. These numbers do not necessarily reflect the number of individuals who opened an account, as one person can obtain several accounts at various banks.
Most accounts were opened in the months that followed the Kremlin’s announcement of the so-called “partial mobilisation” at the end of September 2022, after which there was a mass migration of Russians in different directions, including to Georgia.
For example, they opened 27,784 accounts in October, 15,994 in November, and 10,778 in December. The fewest accounts were opened in August, a little over 6,409.
The Russian branch of Forbes previously reported that Russian freelancers transferred 6.8 times more funds to their foreign bank accounts in 2022 than in 2021.
According to the information provided by the Georgian National Bank, almost half of the money transfers that entered the country throughout the year were made from Russia. Volumes have increased multiple times since March 2022 and reached their peak in May, when the bank transfer amounts were over 10 times higher than in the months before Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. After this, there was a decrease. The second “burst” started after the Kremlin announced mobilisation in Russia and a new wave of Russians came to Georgia.
In order to limit uncontrolled migration from Russia, the Georgian opposition proposed shortening the visa-free regime for Russians to 30 days rather than a year. The Georgian government has repeatedly stated that it sees no dangers in Russian mass migration to their country.
The latest survey carried out by the US National Democratic Institute showed that 69% of respondents were afraid that the mass migration of Russians to Georgia would have a negative impact. Another 17% believed that it would have a positive influence, and 6% stated that it would not make any difference.
At the same time, 57% considered the Georgian government’s liberal approach to Russian citizens entering Georgia to be unacceptable, 29% considered it acceptable, and 13% “did not know”.