Russians fleeing Putin’s war add new strain to old tensions in nearby Georgia | USA TODAY

Russians fleeing conscription for the war in Ukraine to Georgia are furthering tensions between the two countries that have existed for generations.

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"When people come here they feel it's a place that is out of context, a bubble, it exists on its own, you can get lost," said Vanya Mitin, the 38-year-old Moscow-born entrepreneur who founded the commune 90 miles northeast of Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, a small but tough former Soviet republic located at the crossroads of Eastern Europe and Western Asia.

Chateau Chapiteau opened three years ago. It caters to seekers, wanderers and political, social and cultural exiles of various stripes. Now, nearly a year since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, this forest close to where Georgia meets the Russian republics of Chechnya and Dagestan has become another kind of haven: one for Russians who have fled their own country because they don’t agree with the war in Ukraine and don’t want to fight in it.

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