There is a substantial Russian population in Georgia. For many years, Georgia was a part of the Russian Empire, and later the Soviet Union with the Russian SFSR, and as the two countries share a border, many Russians settled in various regions of Georgia. However, the population has decreased after the collapse of the Soviet Union, due to a number of factors such as economic hardship and ethnic tensions.
Ethnic Russians appeared in Georgia in significant numbers after Georgia became part of the Russian Empire in 1803 (Kartli and Kakheti) - 1878 (Ajara).
Census data shows that the Russian population had risen from 83 to the high-point of 319,000 between 1926 and 1959 and then began to decline slowly to 266,000 in 1989. Many Russians left Georgia during the 1990s due to economic hardships, ethnic tensions and other reasons.
A great part of its indigenous population emigrated to Turkey after the Muhajirism, with the result of repopulation of the land with ethnic Armenians and Pontic Greeks. Russians made up 2% of the 100,000 population of Abkhazia by 1897. Russian population rose between 1926 and 1970 and declined thereafter. Post-independence decline was particularly steep due to the War in Abkhazia.