The Vice Prime Minister of Georgia attended a banquet with Putin in China
From the records of the “Belt and Road Forum” held in China on October 18, it is clear that the Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Economy of Georgia, Levan Davitashvili, attended the banquet held as part of the event together with Russian President Vladimir Putin. In addition, a separate record shows that the Vice Prime Minister, together with the Georgian Ambassador to China, attended Putin’s speech.
In addition to this, it is clear from other recordings of the event that Deputy Prime Minister Davitashvili, along with Georgian Ambassador to China Archil Kalandia, also listened to Putin’s speech at the forum.
From the Russian side, in addition to Vladimir Putin, the meeting was attended by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov and the spokesman of the Kremlin, Dmitry Peskov.
In response to a question on this issue, the Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure Irakli Karseladze said: “The presence of representatives of different countries characterises conferences. Of course, it is discomfort when 20% of our territories are occupied, and even more, and we work on it, we do everything to make the country stronger and to regain these occupied territories peacefully.”
Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze said: “This is the usual nonsense you are trying to do, but nothing will come of it. Every reasonable person understands that the Georgian delegation was invited to the mentioned event [as well as] the members of other delegations. Therefore, Georgia too took part.”
Gia Volski: James O’Brien is hostile towards Georgia
The first deputy speaker of the Parliament of Georgia, Gia Volski, responded to the statement of James O’Brien, head of the US State Department’s Sanctions Coordination Office. Volski thinks that O’Brien’s assessment of Georgia has always been hostile.
“I think O’Brien’s statements towards Georgia have always been hostile, and even now we wouldn’t expect him to say anything good. Especially since he is working with Andrey Yermak, whom the Ukrainians themselves accuse of taking Russia’s interests into account […] the cooperation that is going on in the world, does not suit the interests of O’Brien and the O’Briens. It is exactly in line with the position that Zelensky has”, Volsky said.
Speaking about Georgia in the Senate, O’Brien emphasized that the majority of the population of Georgia supports European integration, however, certain groups with business and political influence may prefer to remain a grey area between Russia and the West. As the high-ranking official explained, the US imposed sanctions on Georgian citizens precisely to indicate a turning point.
“The question is whether small groups of businesses and others with political influence want to be a grey area between Russia and the West.” – said the head of the Sanctions Coordination Office.
Volski’s statement was critically assessed by the former US ambassador to Georgia Ian Kelly: “One of the true ways to put yourself in the grey zone between East and West is to call a high-ranking State Department official hostile to Georgia.”
Papuashvili: USAID and EED finance extremism in Georgia
On October 24, the Speaker of the Parliament of Georgia, Shalva Papuashvili, voiced another accusation against the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the European Endowment for Democracy (EED), saying that some of their programs promote “extremism” and “polarization”. He demanded “clarifications” from the US and EU as the ruling party and security services stepped up pressure on civil activists.
“There is already a major scandal in which USAID is involved, and it is very sad for me,” said the chairman of the parliament, noting that “it seems that some officials on the ground in USAID treat the good name of the American people’s assistance in Georgia so disrespectfully.”
In this context, Papuashvili said that there is still no answer from the USAID side whether the organization interfered in the 2020 elections. However “in this case, the lack of an answer is a confirmation that in the 2020 elections, USAID interfered in the elections by spreading its sponsored organization’s [ISFED] fake results of parallel counting [which ISFED repeatedly denied], and USAID officials themselves knew it and hid it from the Georgian public”.
“We see that there is a certain tight circle. On the one hand, people are being trained to have a more radical agenda. Then they are supported when radical actions are held,” Papuashvili said. “At the end of the day, it’s protecting them when they break the law … paying fines is carte blanche for offenders and of course, that’s totally unacceptable.”
On October 26, USAID’s Deputy Administrator in the Bureau of Europe and Eurasia, Erin Elizabeth McKee, denied allegations by Georgian Dream that USAID is “funding extremists” in the country through Georgian non-governmental organizations.
McKee said, “First of all, USAID works with various public and non-governmental organizations to help strengthen and improve the democratic process.” According to her, the foundation of a successful democracy is free, fair and secure elections, which ensure that every citizen’s voice is heard. “Any claim that the United States is supporting the revolution through USAID is flatly false and, frankly, misinformation,” she noted.