Media reports that on the evening of March 8, a traffic jam of hundreds of cars formed at the Upper Lars checkpoint on the Russian-Georgian border. This is confirmed by screenshots from online maps.
The Kremlin propaganda media immediately tried to find an explanation for this fact and connected the traffic jam with the mass exodus from the country engulfed by protests. Izvestia writes :
“Against the backdrop of protests in Georgia, a huge traffic jam has formed at the only checkpoint across the Russian-Georgian border, Upper Lars, of those wishing to leave for the territory of the Russian Federation. On Thursday, March 9, the relevant footage appeared at the disposal of Izvestia.
Social media users say that cars and trucks began to accumulate in the Upper Lars area from the evening of March 8. According to eyewitnesses, hundreds of cars with both Russian and Georgian numbers are standing in line.
In specialized chats, drivers are interested in whether there is ice on Russian roads, whether driveways are open where you can exchange currency.”
Margarita Simonyan in her Telegram channel recalled last year's mass exodus of Russians from mobilization through Upper Lars to Georgia:
“Oh, the Upper Larsovites are running back! Again there are traffic jams, now in the other direction.
You have no homeland, you have no exile."
But the cause of the traffic jam is completely different, and even some Kremlin media admit this. So, Gazeta.Ru reported :
“Russian Aleksey, who stood in a traffic jam at the Upper Lars checkpoint in Georgia for about 10 hours to enter Russia, told Gazeta.Ru that the traffic jam was due to the closure of the road a few days earlier due to an avalanche. He noted that the accumulation of cars at the border is not connected with the rallies held in Georgia.
“We were stuck in a traffic jam. In total, taking into account the traffic jam in front of the Georgian and Russian checkpoints, we spent about 10 hours. And the reasons for such a traffic jam are the accumulation of vehicles due to several days of road closure (due to an avalanche), due to the boorish behavior on the road of some drivers who “climb” both along the side of the road and in the oncoming lane. No connection with the protests in Georgia,” he said.
RTVI explains that the checkpoint was closed on March 5 due to bad weather and the risk of avalanches; It was only opened on the evening of March 7th. This explains the occurrence of the blockage. In the screenshot, you can see that there is a traffic jam in the opposite direction, from Russia to Georgia. True, it is much shorter; perhaps this is due to the fact that the Georgian ski resort of Gudauri, located two hours from Upper Lars, is popular among Russians, and in the days when the border crossing was closed, many people wanted to return to Russia.
On the morning of March 9, the traffic situation in the Upper Lars area returned to normal.