The Daily Dispatch

The Daily Dispatch 25-26 May

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INDEPENDENCE DAY THEN AND NOW Exactly 100 years ago, thousands gathered on Tbilisi Stadium (most of you would recognize it as Tbilisi hippodrome) to watch the festivities led by youths of the gymnastic society “Shevardeni”, listen to the band music and partake in a fair. It was a happy moment, in the shadow of Soviet Russia troops that have just been beaten back by the Georgian Army and the National Guard from country’s eastern borders. Fast-forward 100 years later, and Georgia’s leadership was celebrating May 26 at the military base. Echoing those days, President Zurabishvili said “we should always remember that our defense forces, and united and strong society – are the guarantors for Georgia’s independence.” Apart from the ever-present shadow of the Russian occupation, the country is still living in the shadow of a pandemic, so celebrations elsewhere – in the capital and beyond – were muted. Although social networks were effervescent with erstwhile stories, old and new debates…

A GLIMMER OF GOODWILL? Local media reported on May 26, that Sokhumi authorities ordered have allowed passage to resume through Enguri bridge for those Abkhaz passport holders, who underwent medical treatment in Georgia proper. They will have to provide a proof of testing COVID-19-free or self-quarantine for 14 days. Restrictions were in place from February 27. Georgian ministry says 100 patients crossed in the meantime both from Sokhumi and Tskhinvali region to receive treatment.

NEGOTIATING A LA RUSSE: Moscow denied if flaunted Open Skies Treaty by restricting flights over occupied regions and said the U.S. announcement “flagrant and continuous violation” of the Treaty, is an ultimatum, rather than an invitation for discussions. In its trademark style, the Kremlin countered on another front – asking Georgia to welcome Russian “experts” to the National Central for Disease Control (NCDC) labs, repeating its old trope of the U.S. military being up to no good there. This time, Russia backed up its encirclement theory with “concerns” the Kremlin heard from Georgian “public figures, experts, and civil society organizations”. How touching, such concern for public opinion… What’s the danger, you might ask: – THE DRONES DISPERSING INFECTED MOSQUITOES – which were allegedly patented in the U.S. I kid you not, it’s there, paragraph 4, line 1.

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