Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili has accused the ruling Georgian Dream party of defeatism and matching its own messages with Russian propaganda.
“The new messages that have been heard from the ruling party in the past two days contradict the declarations of statesmen from all our partner countries. Our defeatism matches only the Russian narrative, echoes only Russian propaganda. I can neither explain it nor understand it nor share it,” Zurabishvili said on February 9.
A day earlier, Irakli Kobakhidze, chairman of the Georgian Dream, said Russia would have a “certain advantage” in the war with Ukraine at the current stage. In this context, Kobakhidze repeated the ruling party’s narrative that the West and Kiev would be interested in opening a “second front” in Georgia in order to thereby complicate Russia’s position.
“Based on the fact that the situation in Ukraine today is not simple, we don’t know how events will develop, but at this stage the Russian side has a certain advantage, and this interest (to involve Georgia in the war) has increased,” Kobakhidze said and explained that in recent weeks Russian troops have occupied “up to 10 settlements” in Ukraine, and that if before the war Russia only occupied Crimea and a certain part of Donbass, at this stage Russia occupies 80% of the Kherson region, part of the Kharkiv region and 80% of the Zaporizhzhia region.
Interestingly, Grigory Karasin, the head of the Russian Federation Council’s International Affairs Committee, accused the West of “twisting Georgia’s arms” because of “calm relations with the Russia”.
“As you might expect, the West is now beginning to twist Georgia’s arms over too-calm relations with Russia. These are the new rules of the game in international affairs, regardless of history, geography and state preferences. Washington has decided – do it! Commenting is pointless! – wrote Karasin in Telegram.
Irakli Kobakhidze’s comment sparked outrage among the country’s pro-Western forces and their supporters. In ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili’s UNM party, he was called “Putin’s servant … worthy of standing alongside Simonyan and Solovyov” and deserving of inclusion in the sanctions list of Western countries.
“Russia loses in Ukraine and only a natural Putinist can admit otherwise, that evil will triumph over good,” UNM chairman Levan Khabeishvili said.
In the “Agmashenebeli Strategy” opposition, they only see the personal interests of the “summit” behind the declarations of the power in place.
“They think they can stay in power only after Russia wins, and that’s why Georgian Dream chose Putin’s side from the first day of the war,” he said. said Giorgi Vashadze, president of Strategy Agmashenebeli.
A comment in connection with the “Georgian Dream” messages that the West and “high officials” in Kiev, parallel to the Ukrainian front, are trying to “open a second front” in Georgia, was once again made by US Ambassador to Georgia Kelly Degnan.
“The Georgian authorities are very well aware that we have never pressured Georgia to get involved in this war…misinformation is being spread by those who try to confuse Georgians and who try to divide more this country, those who try to undermine the long partnership that exists between Georgia and the United States of America,” Degnan told Georgian media on February 9.
Relations between Tbilisi and Kiev became complicated when, on the second day after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Georgian side refused to impose individual sanctions against the Russian Federation.
After that, Kiev repeatedly accused the Georgian authorities of agreeing to provide Russia with territory for the smuggling of sanctioned goods and that Georgia, together with the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan, was negotiating with Moscow to re-export Russian products to international markets. The Georgian authorities have denied these allegations and demanded the immediate disclosure of evidence. The Ukrainian side has not yet provided them.
In turn, the US Ambassador to Georgia said earlier that the Georgian authorities are cooperating with Washington in this direction, but she cannot say with a 100% guarantee that all loopholes are closed.
The president of the Caucasus Institute for Peace, Democracy and Development, Gia Nodia, sees two reasons why the power in place makes controversial statements that provoke protest from part of the population. The first reason, according to him, is the expression, “as a sign of devotion”, of the opinion of the founder of the Georgian Dream and, according to opponents, the country’s unofficial leader, billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili. The expert believes that, judging by the statements of representatives of the ruling party, in which Ivanishvili’s position “is of decisive importance”, he most likely believes in the “invincibility of Russia”. And the second reason, according to the political scientist, is propaganda. In particular, says Nodia, the polls show that the ruling party narrative is working and that part of the population really believes that the West would demand that Georgia join the war and that the Georgian Dream does not obey this, and that pro-Western parties will not. able to withstand the pressure of partners and in case of victory, a new war with Russia will begin in Georgia.
It should be recalled that according to the results of another study conducted in Georgia from December 3 to 20 by the American non-governmental organization – the National Democratic Institute (NDI), of all parties in Georgia, the ruling force has the more supporters.
In particular, despite the fact that 39% of survey participants said they had nothing in common with any of the parties, 25% of those polled by NDI said they considered the ruling Georgian Dream party to be closest in their opinions, 6% – the party of ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili “UNM”, and 13% named other parties.
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