- Over the last weekend, Georgians have been mourning five fighters killed in heavy fighting near the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut on December 3, marking the most lethal day for Georgian fighters since the Russian aggression restarted on February 24. These latest casualties brought the death toll of Georgian citizens resisting Russian military aggression in Ukraine to 33. The public pressure via social networks and TV outlets continued to mount as Georgian authorities took three days to join the public in expressing sympathies to their loved ones. On Monday, the Prime Minister, the Speaker of the Parliament, and other public officials offered their condolences, but not without using the momentum to lambast the opposition. PM Garibashvili said “the party of war” is luring Georgians to their demise.
- The rhetorical gap between President Salome Zurabishvili and the Georgian government continued to grow as Zurabishvili visited Poland to offer full-throated support to Ukraine’s victory, as well as unqualified sympathies to the families of the fallen Georgian fighters.
- The lawyers called for the suspension of the prison sentence, on the grounds that Mikheil Saakashvili’s health is crumbling. The doctors say the former president suffers from illness-induced anorexia, as well as heavy metal poisoning. He is said to have lost 28 kilos in the past months and weighs only 73kg (160 pounds) while standing almost two meters (6.5 feet) tall. The United National Movement says their former leader’s life hangs in balance, while medical professionals speak of serious, possibly lethal, consequences if he is not urgently treated. The Moldovan President, Maia Sandu raised her voice in support of Saakashvili, tweeting the request for his transfer to an appropriate hospital. The US Ambassador to Georgia said she is “keeping a close eye” on Saakashvili’s situation. The majority party officials continue to downplay the concerns. Culture Minister, Vice PM Tea Tsulukiani, who was formerly in charge of the justice portfolio, said Saakashvili should just buck up and get used to prison.
- The Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned the Czech Ambassador to Georgia over his comments that alleged Georgia might be channeling Czech goods to Russia. After visiting the Ministry, the Czech Ambassador said his “words were misinterpreted and spread out of context.”
Talk of the town
- Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze has been under fire from civic and liberal quarters for picking “Tbilisi – the City of Peace” as the capital’s holiday slogan. The critics say the choice of words is a snub at Kyiv, rendered particularly cynical as Georgian fighters die. The majority party leader Irakli Kobakhidze did not miss the chance to blame the opposition for – you guessed it – hating peace. Perhaps the opposition should learn its lesson and look statesmanlike by focusing on substance, rather than on fighting slogans.