The Daily Beat

The Daily Beat: 17 January

Małgorzata Goszewska, the vice speaker of the Polish Sejm, told Formula TV that an unnamed Georgian Foreign Ministry official threatened to ban her from entering the country if she continued to raise the issue of Mikheil Saakashvili. The warning was allegedly voiced at a meeting also attended by the Polish Ambassador in Tbilisi. The Foreign Ministry did not comment. Vice Premier Tea Tsulukiani confirmed the government’s unfavorable view on Goszewska saying the Polish Sejm made “unfriendly gestures” driven by “Goszewska, a friend of Vano Merabishvili.” Merabishvili was the interior minister and briefly prime minister in Saakashvili’s cabinet. He spent six years in prison from 2014 to 2020.

Ergneti – a village next to the occupation line with Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia, hosted the 110th Incident Prevention and Response Mechanisms (IPRMs) meeting.  The participants discussed security, including erecting barriers (‘borderisation’) and detentions. The EUMM and the OSCE representatives welcomed the temporary opening of two crossing points along the South Ossetian administrative boundary line (ABL) in late December while expressing their concerns over a high number of detentions.

The EU Ambassador to Georgia, Pawel Herczynski, called on the Georgian authorities to respect the rights of all prisoners, including Mikheil Saakashvili as a defendant in court and as a prisoner. Ambassador stressed that the EU is closely following the court hearings of the ex-President and looks forward to the prompt conclusion of the trial. Vice Premier Tea Tsulukiani rebuffed the ambassador’s remarks as groundless and called on the EU ambassador to convince Saakashvili to behave with respect towards prison and hospital personnel while “in a luxury hospital ward and in exceptionally good conditions.”

In 2022, remittances from Russia to Georgia spiked five-fold compared to 2021 and exceeded 2 billion dollars, “Kommersant” reported, quoting the National Bank of Georgia. Largely, the recipients of the money transfers were Russians who moved to Georgia after their country invaded Ukraine. The transfers peaked in December with $317.3 million. Reportedly, Russian immigrants use fast transfer systems (mainly Golden Crown) as opening a foreign currency account in Georgia remains problematic due to international financial sanctions.

Ambulance staff, joined by trade union representatives, gathered to protest low wages at the Emergency Coordination and Assistance Centre. Ambulance workers, demanding a pay rise since last year, pledged to stay at the spot until their demands are met. This is their second protest in 2023. .

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