Who is Data Lapauri, owner of Georgia's anti-Putin Dedaena bar?
- The Dedaena bar in Georgia is vocally against Russian President Vladimir Putin's regime
- It is owned by Data Lapauri
- Lapauri has a visa policy where Russians have to rebuke Putin's actions to enter the bar
Data Lapauri, the bar's owner, told The Moscow Times that Russians going to Georgia should never forget that the place is under attack from their country. The 34-year-old conceded that the policy for Russian visitors to his bar might be a little "extreme", but Lapauri believes in the message behind the stance.
"I don't want to have someone who supports the war in Ukraine and voted for Putin at the bar that I own. We don't want to serve the occupiers", he said.
Lapauri has often championed common causes and in 2014, it was reported that he was among those protecting the largest parks in the nation's capital from constructions like hotels. His Couch Surfing profile, which Lapauri seems to have accessed four years back, lists him as a magician from Tbilisi.
It said he's fluent in English, Georgian, German, Russian, while noted he was learning Persian (Farsi) and Spanish at that time. His profile lists myriad interests including mountains, kissing, clubbing, psychedelics, and long OCB roll papers.
Lapauri's Dedaena bar faced a cyberattack after the visa form for Russians went up on August 4. The owner told Resident Advisor about the situation, describing that the site had been down 20 times, adding that they'd deleted the menu from the bar's website.
While tracing the attacks to the bar's anti-Russian stance, Lapauri clarified that the establishment prides itself on inclusivity. "Everyone is welcome in our bar, our whole policy is about inclusivity", he told RA, adding, "Our staff are from diverse backgrounds. We wouldn't say 'you are Russian, you can't be here.' But we really need to know people who come to the bar aren't supporting imperialist mindsets of Putin supporters, so we created this form."
The decision drew severe backlash with some private messages threatening to burn down the bar, attack visitors with acid, or just say "080808", a reference to Russia's 2008 attack on Georgia.
"It's felt like some kind of bad dream", Lapauri had said of the venue which hosts live music, hip-hop nights, and electronic DJs regularly.