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FM Lavrov Fields Question from Ultra-right Alt-Info, Compliments Georgian Government

Speaking at the official press conference in Moscow, the Foreign Minister of Russia, Sergei Lavrov fielded a question from the Georgian ultra-right, pro-Russian media and political movement Alt-Info.

Alt-Info outlet has been implicated in anti-Western, xenophobic, and anti-LGBTQ propaganda. It was one of the chief instigators of July 5, 2021, violence that was directed against LGBTQ community and left scores of journalists injured.

In response, FM Lavrov complimented the Georgian Orthodox Church as a bulwark against Western influence, and also the Georgian government for its “courage” in standing up against Western pressure to join sanctions against Russia.

The verbatim transcription of the Alt-Info question and FM Lavrov’s response, made by from the recording follows:

David Akhvlediani, Alt-Info: Mr. Minister, since the start of the Special Military Operation in Ukraine we have all seen that it is really a confrontation of the collective West with Russia and not only. Smaller countries in the region, including Georgia, have also found themselves in a difficult situation. Through their constant radical attacks political and media groups, controlled by the Americans, are trying to impose immoral and perverted values of Western norms of behavior, alien to our culture and identity. By doing so, the West is trying to undermine the cultural sovereignty of small countries and gain control over them, and the ultimate goal of this globalist policy is to sacrifice these small countries for its own political interests. There also is a sad example, unfortunately, of Ukraine. Georgia and other countries in the region are facing the same danger. And here is the question: in these circumstances, does Russia have a clear strategy against the West’s destructive cultural expansion, and whether this implies cooperation with countries that might be natural allies in defending conservative values.

Lavrov: The question is very broad. We were just talking about Ukraine. Yesterday there was a UN Security Council meeting convened on our initiative to discuss threats to international peace and security that stem from the Kiev regime’s policy on human rights, the rights of national minorities, including the religious rights of national minorities, and the need to… you know, cultural presence, countering negative tendencies by preserving traditional values, this is all directly linked to religion too, to the activities of the Orthodox Church. Both the ROC and the GOC, and also in Ukraine this [the Orthodox Church] is not an instrument of Russian influence, but simply this institution of preserving traditions, history, and transmission of these traditions from generation to generation, when it is simply destroyed and banned, clergymen are arrested and deprived of their citizenship, these are the methods by which the West fights to assert its values.

We are forced to reciprocate when our journalists, our political scientists, our politicians, who are known and are able to tell the truth to foreign audiences, are sanctioned, we are forced to reciprocate, but it is not our choice at all. Even during the Cold War, both Soviet and American academics met regularly. They discussed pressing issues of the day. Now there is practically no such possibility and I will just say that sometimes representatives of political science think tanks in the West address me just timidly, through completely unofficial channels. They ask me if it would be possible to organize a seminar somewhere on neutral territory and if your and our scholars would come here.

Once again I said that I have huge respect for the position of the GOC, which defends these values and in general we have no problems with the Georgian people. Yes, there was a story in 2008 that… again NATO played a role when NATO Summit in Bucharest in April where they adopted a declaration saying that Georgia and Ukraine will be in NATO, Saakashvili obviously, absolutely… I do not want to use slang, well in general he gave his emotions free reign, and he decided that that was all, that was permission [for action], and Condoleezza Rice had arrived there a month before he gave the order to bomb Tskhinvali, and positions of peacekeepers … It took Ukrainians a little more, it took time to receive this Bucharest impulse to those people, who decided to eradicate all things Russian from their territory …

But we are for Abkhazia and South Ossetia building relations with Georgia, there are mechanisms of dialogue in which we are also involved. The Georgian side put forward quite a long time ago a project of joint economic activities, proposing to build confidence through this, these are all very, very useful things. It is true that now western participants of the so-called Geneva international discussions between Georgia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia – it is the EU, UN, OSCE, USA – they somehow try to make this format of dialogue hostage to the events around Ukraine as well. This is indecent, I think, unprofessional. It means that they do specific tasks in a particular region, conditioning them to their political grievances and caprices.

I am glad that we have people-to-people contacts with Georgia actively developing. Last year, I was told, Georgia’s GDP grew by 10% largely due to tourism and trade relations with the Russian Federation. Hopefully, we will have direct flights again soon… that’s about it…

But we see to what extent Georgia and virtually all countries are experiencing pressure from the West to join sanctions against Russia openly, and publicly. And the fact that a small country and its government have the courage to say – will be guided by our interests, by interests of our economy – commands respect.

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


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