Eleven local civil society organizations, including Transparency International Georgia, Atlantic Council of Georgia, Georgian Democracy Initiative, Society and Banks and UN Association of Georgia, called on the participants of the Batumi International Conference “to give a strict response to Putin’s imperialistic rhetoric.”
“Today, our country is the target of aggressive rhetoric and economic sanctions from the Russian Government and President Putin. Moreover, President Putin is personally falsifying the history of Georgia. Through the distortion of facts and a false narrative, he is trying to recreate the traumatic past that will it impossible to establish peace and restore trust in the region,” the CSOs said in their joint statement of July 11.
The CSOs said “unfortunately, our Government has been unable to give an adequate response to this rhetoric.” They said, instead the Government of Georgia is “inciting panic in the country through their inactivity and confusion and is trying to leave an impression that our country will not survive without strong economic links with Russia.”
Stressing that Georgia is not only “a role model for all other countries in the region,” but also “the country that has proven that progressive and exemplary reforms can be carried out without taking Russian interests into account,” the CSOs underscored that “it is our country’s aspiration to become much more than a regular state in Eastern Europe.”
“Your support is important for all citizens of Georgia! We are a brave and proud nation! We know the price of freedom and that is why we always fight to protect it! Standing by our side today means standing on the side of Europe and European values”, reads the statement.
The two-day event brings together high-level officials and representatives from academia, non-governmental sector and business from the EU and six partner countries on July 11-12, including Foreign Ministers of Armenia, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Sweden.