27.05.2015. History would advise against crossing a powerful Russian politician.
The tiny country of Georgia learned this lesson nearly a decade ago when a spat between then president Mikheil Saakashvili and Russian president Vladimir Putin resulted in a political jab which hurt Georgia in the short-term, but proved to be a significant boost in the long-run.
“Through the Soviet period and into the 1990s, Russians filled their glasses with Georgian vino. That changed in 2006 when, tensions flared between … Putin and … Saakashvili,” The Washington Post reporter Jenny Holm wrote this past week. “Russia banned imports of wine and spirits from the country in a thinly veiled move to chastise its government.”
Faced with the loss of its top export market – 80 to 90 percent, Holm said – Georgia and Moldova, who also faced Putin’s wrath, had to refocus their export efforts. They set their sights on the United States and Europe, shunning the superpower which had shunned them.