President Salome Zurabishvili scolded the government for welcoming the Russian offer to resume air travel. Departing in this way from the united position of the Western allies, she said, was “mildly speaking, difficult to explain.” Zurabishvili also called on the government to carefully study the impact of Russian immigration and impose regulations for their employment, business registration, and property acquisition.
US Ambassador Kelly Degnan spoke about Russian innuendoes and the ruling party’s response. Hacking close to the President, she said, “I think most Georgians would rather hear that Russia is withdrawing its troops from Abkhazia and Tskhinvali and finally comply with its obligations under the 2008 treaty rather than direct flights.”
Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili is still at the World Economic Forum in Davos. True to the economic focus of his visit, he participated in a panel discussion – “Eurasia Middle Corridor: From Pathway to Highway.” PM Garibashvili mainly focused on developing infrastructure projects, business attractiveness, and a projected undersea electricity power line with the EU.
Don’t miss a beat!
Data of the day
32.8% this is how much Georgia’s foreign trade turnover increased in 2022, according to the GeoStat, an official data-crunching outlet. The trade volume stood at 19 billion US dollars. Both exports and imports grew by more than 30%, with Turkey topping the list of major trading partners, followed by Russia and China.
Wake up call
Georgia woke to a horrific shooting incident in Sagarejo, Kakheti region, which left five killed, and an equal number injured. The lone shooter, identified as a career military, took his own life as the anti-terrorist team closed in. Speculation about the potential trauma that the shooter – reportedly a decorated veteran – led to questions about the type of psychological assistance the Ministry of Defense provides to the military, many of whom served in various hotspots under UN or NATO command.
Ghia Nodia, a respected scholar, penned an op-ed on Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. He argues that the recent incident when Alt-Info hate group blocked the academic lecture from taking place is not – as some argued – the proof of growing fascism in Georgia. “Nothing proves,” Nodia writes, “that Alt-Info and their analogs are a serious force: they are visible only against the political background that the Georgian Dream nurtures.” In the political context dominated by the “Georgian Dream,” says Nodia, “left-wing” and “right-wing” are senseless constructs because “this government is basing itself on the assumption that to link politics with ideology and values is to be naive.”
He then compares Alt-info’s latest antics not to the Nazi book burnings but to the “cancel-culture” in the West. Nodia says Georgia’s Alt-info is similar to the “woke culture” – not in its ideology, but in the methods which it appropriates to repress academic expression.