GEORGIA IN FOREIGN SPOTLIGHT — LAB RATS ATTACK —- ELECTION SEASON BLUES — SWEAR IT NOT
This is the Daily Dispatch, our editorial take on Georgia-related developments of the day, delivered to your mailboxes every evening, except weekends, Tbilisi-time. That’s what the day looked like:
INTERNATIONAL SPOTLIGHT Georgia had a good week internationally. First, the country joined EU… unfortunately only in a statement condemning the poisoning of Putin’s opponent Alexey Navalny. Foreign Minister Zalkaliani expressed his ‘utter outrage’ on Twitter and called for this crime to be investigated quickly. Russian MP Shvytkin, however, used a classic Uno reverse card and blamed Georgia for producing Novichok nerve-agents. Still, yesterday brought a rather delightful note as the Council of Europe reiterated that Russia must pay a hefty sum to Georgia for unlawfully deporting many of its citizens, while a record number of 84 countries voted for the UN General Assembly for a non-binding resolution to guarantee the right of return of all IDPs to Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region. Similar votes have been held for the last 13 years but unfortunately, the Russians have no shortage of Uno cards up their sleeves. Still, kudos to Georgia’s oft-neglected diplomats for the job well done!
LAB HACKS Maybe MP Shvytkin’s words were not left unheard and the Russian intelligence decided to pay a clandestine visit to the Lugar Center – you know, just to make sure. A cyber-attack targeted the computer systems of the Center and the Ministry of Health. The US Embassy condemned the attack, and cyber defenders don’t have to look too far for the culprits given the long history of Russian verbal aggression against the Lugar Center. Georgian politicians surely did not waste time to point an accusatory finger northwards.
ELECTORAL SWITCHAROOS Despite the Georgian Parliament toughening the criminal liability for electoral violations, Lelo claims that the opposite is happening in practice. One party member was severely beaten, while another was harassed. Meanwhile, a well-known local businessman and MP Kakha Okriashvili switched allegiances and joined the opposition coalition. The merry-go-round was completed by some Alliance of Patriots’ members, who only now realized the shortcomings of their now-ex party and left it.
BY OLD GODS AND NEW The Alliance‘s dame du fer Irma Inashvili swore on live television “in front of the God and people” that she did not “take any Russian money”. Fine print concerning the off-shore accounts was not included. We find the assumption that Georgia’s prime-time talk-show might be broadcasted to the heavenly gates disturbing.
That’s all for today, enjoy your weekend. We will stay in touch with news roundups, while The Dispatch will take over from Monday.