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Roman Gotsiridze: “There was a time when the major part of remittances was coming from Russia. Later on, Russia was surpassed by the EU. This January, more money was transferred from Italy as compared to Russia.”

Verdict: FactCheck concludes that Roman Gotsiridze’s statement is TRUE.

Resume:

As of January 2021, USD 150 million in total was transferred to Georgia from abroad. Most remittances came from Italy (USD 27 million), followed by Russia (USD 23 million). Of note is that one-month figures are not sufficient to identify a “leader” country in terms of remittances. In the past, there were months (for instance, April and May 2020) when remittances from Italy surpassed those of Russia. However, the total remittances from Russia in 2020 was USD 66 million as compared to remittances from Italy.

Since 2018, remittances from the EU have been exceeding remittances from Russia which is in line with Roman Gotsiridze’s statement. Of note is that both the absolute and the relative figures of the remittances from Russia have been declining whilst the remittances from the EU have been growing almost annually both in absolute and relative terms.

Analysis

United National Movement member Roman Gotsiridze made a Facebook publication in regard to the statistics of remittances: “There was a time when the major part of remittances was coming from Russia and later on Russia was surpassed by the EU. This January, more money was transferred from Italy (USD 27 million) as compared to Russia (USD 23 million). Remittances from Europe and the USA also grow as the country has been changing.”

Foreign remittances to Georgia comprise the money transferred to the country mostly by emigrants working abroad. The National Bank’s data indicate the volume of remittances from Georgia and vice-versa through electronic money transfer systems (Western Union, Money Gram, Anelik, Unistream and others) operating in Georgia’s banking system.

Table 1 shows the statistics of foreign remittances in 2012-2020 and the countries which are leading sources of the remittances. As of January 2021, USD 150 million in total was transferred to Georgia from abroad. Most remittances came from Italy (USD 27 million), followed by Russia (USD 23 million). Of note is that one-month figures are not sufficient to identify a “leader” country in terms of remittances. In the past, there were months (for instance, April and May 2020) when remittances from Italy surpassed those of Russia. However, the total remittances from Russia in 2020 was USD 66 million as compared to remittances from Italy.

Table 1: Top Originating Countries of Foreign Remittances to Georgia in 2012-2021 (January), USD Million

Source: National Statistics Office of Georgia

Since 2018, remittances from EU member countries exceed those from Russia’s which is in line with Roman Gotsiridze’s statement. Of note is that both the absolute and the relative figures of the remittances from Russia have been declining whilst the picture is the opposite in the case of the EU. Remittances from Russia amounted to USD 748 million in 2012 whilst they dropped by 51% to USD 364 million in 2020. The Russian remittances to the total remittances ratio also shrank by 37 percentage points as compared to 2012. It is the opposite in terms of remittances from EU member states. In 2012, remittances from EU member states were USD 359 million whilst they increased by 118% to USD 782 million in 2020. The EU remittances to the total remittances ratio rose by 14 percentage points as compared to 2012.

Graph 1: Annual Remittances from Russia and EU Member States in 2012-2020, USD Million, % Share in Total Remittances

Source: National Bank of Georgia