Over a month has passed since the world awoke on February 24 to the horrifying news that Russia had invaded Ukraine. In condemnation of the aggression, Western governments swiftly levied a massive range of sanctions, volunteers gathered near Ukraine’s borders to assist the growing number of refugees, and major corporations announced that they were cutting ties with Russia.
In Georgia, the response was also immediate. Within hours of hearing about Russia’s attack, Georgians took to the streets to make their voices heard. The message: Georgians stand in solidarity with their brave Ukrainian brothers and sisters. For nearly two weeks following the onset of the war, demonstrators gathered en masse in the streets of the country’s major cities to express their solidarity and support for the Ukrainian people. Day after day, the Ukrainian flag joined its Georgian counterpart on billboards, in shop windows, and the hands of thousands as they marched through the centers of Tbilisi, Kutaisi, and Batumi, chanting “Слава Україні!” and “Gaumarjos!”
For many, carrying signs with slogans like “Ukraine’s war is our war” and “Stop Russian aggression”, the invasion of Ukraine has struck a particularly painful chord. With two of its own Russian-backed separatist regions and the ache of the 2008 Russo-Georgian war still fresh in the hearts and minds of many, it is unsurprising that Georgians are united in their solidarity with Ukraine.
A recent poll done by Tbilisi-based Analysis and Consulting Team (ACT) further indicates just how unified Georgians are on the matter. According to the survey, 87% of Georgians agree with the statement that “Ukraine’s war is our war too.”
That feeling of solidarity has also spurred the Georgian people to do more than just voice their support – they’re also lending a hand. Grassroots social media campaigns have organized announcements from businesses and individuals who are offering housing, food, and employment to the estimated 30,000 Ukrainians already in Georgia. Donation centers around Tbilisi have collected tonnes of humanitarian aid to be sent to Ukraine, and some Georgians have even traveled to Ukraine to express their solidarity by fighting alongside their Ukrainian brothers.
Despite the uncertainties around when the war may end and what it will mean for the region, one thing remains clear: Georgians overwhelmingly stand with Ukraine. Slava Ukraini!