There have been protests in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, against Moscow’s decision to ban the country’s mineral water. Demonstrators poured Russian vodka down a makeshift toilet outside the Russian embassy to show their disgust.
They claim cheap alcohol from across the border is flooding the Georgian market, but the real target of criticism is President Vladimir Putin.
Russia banned two Georgian brands of mineral water last month after claiming to have found they contained pesticides and heavy metals. One of the products, Borzhomi, has been popular among Russians for decades and is believed to have medicinal properties.
The largely agricultural Georgia relies heavily on wine and other exports and some government officials believe the ban is politically motivated to punish Tbilisi’s pro-Western policies.
Last year, wine exports brought in some 90-million euros to Georgia’s economy, with at least 70 percent of that coming from Russia. The ban follows a series of clashes between the former Soviet states, including bitter rows earlier this year over gas supplies.