Georgian authorities accuse opposition of seeking war with Russia

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    “The opposition wants to destabilize and involve Georgia in a war with Russia,”— declared at a briefing one of the leaders of the ruling party “Georgian Dream” (GM), Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Legal Affairs Anri Okhanashvili. This is how he commented on the opposition’s demand, led by Mikheil Saakashvili’s United National Movement party, to introduce a visa regime for Russian citizens.

    After the start of the special military operation of the Russian Federation in Ukraine, more than 300 thousand people arrived in Georgia from Russia. Moreover, most of them moved to permanent residence, bought or rented apartments for a long time and transferred their business to Georgia.

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    Mr. Okhanashvili’s statement was made in the context of a heated discussion about the position of the Georgian authorities regarding the Russian special operation, as well as in the context of recent verbal attacks by deputies close to the authorities on the ambassadors of the United States and the European Union (EU): they are accused of indulging forces that allegedly want to involve Georgia into the war.

    In this regard, 48 deputies (almost all members of parliament from opposition parties) today, August 4, published an open lettercalling on colleagues from the ruling party, as well as Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, “to stop the smear and disinformation campaign against the country’s main strategic partners – the US and the EU.”

    One of the reasons for the discussion between the authorities and the opposition has recently been statements Oleksiy Danilov, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, that if Georgia considers Abkhazia and South Ossetia “its territories”, then it would be worth it to “defend its lands”. “If you think that these lands are yours, then imitate us and act like us,” said Mr. Danilov.

    In Tbilisi, this phrase was perceived by many as a direct call to war with the former autonomies, whose independence the Russian Federation recognized after the five-day war in 2008. Prime Minister Garibashvili said that Georgia “will not fight against its Abkhazian and Ossetian brothers and sisters.” And the chairman of the GM Irakli Kobakhidze noticedthat Aleksey Danilov allegedly “voiced the desire of the Georgian opposition.” Meanwhile, the opposition leader, the leader of the Strategy Agmashenebeli party, Georgiy Vashadze, who served as an adviser to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, was outraged by these accusations by Mr. Kobakhidze, and called Aleksey Danilov’s statements “debility.”

    On the economic dependence of Georgia on Russia – in material “b”.

    Giorgi Dvali, Tbilisi

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