Politicians React to Ivanishvili’s Address

Georgian politicians from the opposition and the ruling Georgian Dream party reacted to Bidzina Ivanishvili’s rare address released on July 27 which claimed that “certain forces actively tried to drag Georgia into the [Ukraine] war, and this desire and goal of theirs, unfortunately, is still relevant today.” The ex-PM and GD founder warned in the letter that “until the end of the war in Ukraine, certain risks still remain, and both the government and the public should be extremely careful so that Georgia can, for the last time, avoid a fatal war.”

Ivanishvili also addressed rumors started by one of the recently departed GD trio, MP Mikheil Kavelashvili, and picked up by his fellow departees Dimitri Khundadze, and Sozar Subari, of a possible meeting between U.S. Ambassador Kelly Degnan and their insinuation of the U.S. Ambassador trying to blackmail Ivanishvili into war. Although refraining to comment about the content of the meeting, Ivanishvili confirmed such a meeting took place “at the request of the Ambassador on March 21 and it lasted for about three hours.”

Below is a sampling of reactions from the political spectrum:

Georgian Dream Reacts

Ruling party chairperson Irakli Kobakhidze emphasized on July 27 the letter “contains very important information and messages.”

“I will repeat that there are some things that we must continue to leave in the [confidential] space, it will be difficult for us to talk about some things in public. However, society will draw its own conclusions,” he added.

“Regarding [being dragged into war] this is definitely so. We have often talked about this topic, there was a serious risk of involvement in the war… There were specific parties, politicians, [CSOs], it was the Ukrainian government represented almost in its entirety, and these were lobbyists of political opponents who were directly involved in the war-mongering campaign,” he underscored. “Therefore, Mr. Bidzina’s call that we should be careful and vigilant, [addressed to] both to the government and society, is absolutely relevant.”

Tbilisi Mayor and party member Kakha Kaladze stated he does not have any information about the meeting with the U.S. Ambassador but that Ivanishvili “said what happened in reality” in response to “requests that statements be made, that the public knows, if such meeting was held or not, [and] what it was about.”

In agreement with the party chair, Mayor Kaladze said, “We have heard many statements regarding calls that we should join the war, this did not come out of nowhere.”

Archil Talakvadze, Deputy Chairperson of Parliament, proclaimed, “There are two important points in this letter. First – these are Mr. Bidzina Ivanishvili’s answers to questions that have been asked many times recently. [Second] this letter once again indicates how honest Ivanishvili is and how patriotic [he is] towards his country.”

“Society today already sees what the price of peace is,” he emphasized. “They see the price of democratic institutions and what it means when the country is not ruled by idolatry but in the way that the Georgian Dream established.”

Opposition Reacts

Nika Melia, leaders of the United National Movement said in a Facebook post “It is a fact of life: Ivanishvili is bargaining with the West about the future of Georgia. Just like that, he has put Georgia out for sale as perished goods”. “It cost me a pile of money for Georgia not to go to war, I’ve lost millions, and which I intended to spend for your benefit” – this was the interpretation of Ivanishvili’s message to the Georgian people by Melia. He stressed, that GD patron did not comment on accusations leveled by “his loyal servants” against Ambassador Degnan, and “thus proving that he [Ivanishvili] was behind this campaign.” Melia also argued, that ending polarization with the force headed by Ivanishvili was proving impossible, since “we want the West, that very West that Ivanishvili is directly confronting now, trying to drag us back into the dark alleyways of the [Russian] Empire.”

Bacho Dolidze, from the United National Movement, stated that, “He [Bidzina Ivanishvili] attacks, directly or indirectly, the United States of America and Europe, as if they tried to drag us into the war.”

Regarding the meeting with the U.S. Ambassador, he said, “it likely would not have been the first meeting because [the fact of] Bidzina’s informal rule is not only the position of the Georgian opposition. Many facts prove that in the end, Ivanishvili, not Georgian Dream, makes the decisions.”

“This is all very sad. We have reached the point of trying to trade the future of the country for our own personal interests,” former-PM and For Georgia leader Giorgi Gakharia said.

Giorgi Vashadze, Strategy Aghmashenebeli leader, declared “this letter is proof that there really is an oligarchic government and it is Bidzina Ivanishvili who determines everything. Second, this letter is proof that the trio [of ‘dissident’ MP who split from GD] is his project, with which he is playing with the fate of Georgia.”

“The main author of false dilemmas is Mr. Ivanishvili, which this letter proves,” MP Vashadze added. “The threat of war in Georgia is precisely such a false dilemma.”

Davit Usupashvili, Lelo for Georgia MP, underscored, “[Ambassador] Kelly Degnan meets a lot of people, including me, and that doesn’t mean I’m an informal ruler because of that… When Georgia wasn’t properly mobilized and engaged in dealing with common threats, I don’t rule out that our strategic friends decided to talk to Bidzina Ivanishvili about these topics.”

“[And] what does Ivanishvili do? With his left hand he unleashes the so-called trio, for [the sake of] the propaganda it has been producing, and now with his right hand he attempts to stabilize the situation,” MP Usupashvili said. “I would advise him to strengthen his right hand, to seriously reach out to the United States and Europe, as it was for decades, and then Georgia and he himself will be saved.”

Giga Bokeria, European Georgia leader, stressed, “The campaign from the ruling party that the West, the USA, Europe, tried to drag Georgia into the war and create bloodshed continues. This campaign and this message are incompatible with the task of returning Georgia to the free world.”

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


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