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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

How the “Georgian Dream” Lost to the American Dream – Rossiyskaya Gazeta

With only a few stern warnings from senior Washington and European Union officials, Georgia’s own ruling parliamentary coalition withdrew its foreign agents bill. And the opposition that came to the Georgian Maidan, with the help of cobblestones and garbage cans, clearly demonstrated to MPs that national interests are nothing compared to the distant “carrot” in the form of Georgia’s entry in a single Europe and in NATO.

It is now clear that no law on foreign agents will be adopted in the next parliamentary elections in Georgia in 2024. This means that the “rudder” of the election campaign will again be the money received from abroad.

Washington wants to see Georgia’s opposition in action – if it will be able to further stoke protest moods in the country

The leaders of the current Georgian opposition are convinced that the conservatives in Washington will not forget the behavior of the “Georgian Dream” and that the opponents in official Tbilisi will receive enough funds to seize power. The American dream of turning Georgia into an unstable state controlled by the West this time proved stronger than the Georgian dream, with its half-hearted attempt to override national interests and take control of the US-funded media. abroad and non-governmental foundations.

Georgia’s ruling party’s belief that its leadership had an unenviable future continued overnight Wednesday into Thursday. Barricades on Rustaveli Avenue erected by opponents, Molotov cocktails thrown at police trying to protect the constitutional order, the embattled parliament and National Gallery workers who had to hide exhibits when protesters broke down doors and occupied the exhibition hall – that’s what the people of Tbilisi inflamed with protests will remember.

Understanding that in Georgia the Ukrainian Maidan scenario is unfolding like clockwork, the government hastened to back down and agreed to withdraw the draft law on foreign agents. In response, the opposition officially canceled the civil disobedience briefing. But it is premature to talk about settling the conflict.
First, there were no reports of the release of activists detained for resisting police – this was one of the conditions for stopping the rallies. Secondly, it is not so easy to stop the hot machine to change the Georgian government. Moreover, after the “atu” order from the West collective, no one heard such a clear “fu” order, aimed at the opposition. Hidden behind the Statue of Liberty, Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili of New York emotionally called on the population for civil disobedience to ensure that the Foreign Agents Bill does not ultimately pass parliament. But such strong calls to bring Tbilisi back to a peaceful life are not being heard today from Ms. Zurabishvili.

Whether the “puppeteers” want to use the already shaken situation in Georgia to achieve another color revolution, or decide to wait with the change of power until the 2024 parliamentary elections, is not clear. Georgia’s current position appears fragile in every way – having clearly defined an exclusively pro-Western foreign policy vector, official Tbilisi nonetheless denies military assistance to Ukraine and maintains the appearance of neutrality. Additionally, he is keeping Mikheil Saakashvili, who shook hands in Washington, behind bars. But so far, it doesn’t look like the White House has a ready-made leader who can confidently take power in Georgia after the Maidan – otherwise the Georgian dream would be long over.

At the Georgian checkpoint “Upper Lars” a traffic jam more than a kilometer long made up of cars heading towards Russia Photo: Telegram / Upper Lars checkpoint

It also cannot be ruled out that Washington will want to see the Georgian opposition in action – whether it will be able to further stir up protest moods in the country after their reason – the Foreign Agents Bill – was withdrawn.

The situation with this document, which Georgia literally struck out from a similar US law, does not seem at all paradoxical. From the State Department’s perspective, a legal document that has repeatedly proven useful in protecting American society from foreign influence should be banned from use in other parts of the world where Washington has its own interests. Or did the Georgians consider themselves equal to the inhabitants of the United States? Funny…

News agencies reported that after the protests began in Tbilisi, queues for cars entering Russia through the Upper Lars checkpoint increased sharply. Fearing being trapped in a civil war, residents of the Russian Federation who had previously left for Georgia decided to wait out Georgia’s troubled times in their homeland. Moreover, there is no need to talk now about greater stability in Georgia. If today the “Georgian Dream” manages to lead the conflict in a legal way, the situation in the country will continue to be shaken to reach the peak of the discontent of the authorities by the elections. And the non-transparent funding of non-governmental organizations operating in Georgia, media, foundations and local politicians, which they tried to end in the law on foreign agents, will become an additional catalyst for explosive moods in society. So our compatriots, who naively hoped that Tbilisi would avoid “political turmoil” and not buy American khachapuri for the participants of the now Georgian Maidan, should simply go to Rustaveli Avenue, paralyzed after the night of riots. And draw conclusions.

In the meantime

The Georgian opposition will continue the protests. This was announced by the representative of the party “Girchi – more freedom!” Tsotne Koberidze during a briefing, which was also attended by leaders of various non-governmental organizations. According to Koberidze, “on Thursday there will definitely be action”, because young people do not trust the “Georgian Dream”. “We need clarity on how they plan to withdraw the Foreign Agents Bill and when they will release the people who fought with us,” the politician said.

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