Peter Murphy, writing for the Budapest Sun, reports life in Georgia is slowly returning to normal as people return to their regular activities and jobs. He talked with a group of people of whom only two were Georgian and the others Ossetian, Armenian and Russian. A Georgian woman commented: “The war doesn’t affect us; we were friends before and we will be friends after. Politicians have made this war, not the people. However, he came across Russians who fear remaining due to bitter feelings generated by the conflict. “There have been some who make sure we can hear them when they talk of the bad Russians. If someone on the street asks us where we are from, we say we are Armenians. We think about leaving, we’d go to Moscow. More and more Russians have left in the lat few years.”
Murphy saw many anti-Russian banners hanging from barriers and TV stations report constantly about evil Russians. However, panic buying has ended and people are returning to their normal activities. “Business for anyone is not brisk these days, the hotels are empty” since tourists are not making trips to Georgia.
The war led thousands of Russians who had been peacefully living in South Ossetia to flee in fear and now they are creating an new refugee problem for the Georgian government. Murphy visited the main hospital in Tbilsi and was told by doctors most casualties were soldiers who had been wounded by cluster bombs and only a few had bullet wounds. He did not come across evidence of widespread death as has often been reported in the western media. Actually, he noted, “the road north to Gori and South Ossetia from the capital is surprisingly busy with traffic as people in outlying suburbs of Tbilsi come and go.” It is apparent there are South Ossetians who fled to Russia and those who fled to Georgia. Now, refugees wait and see what the future holds.