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The Daily Beat: 1 February

“Georgian problems should be on the table, and no one should think that this war will end without the de-occupation of all the occupied territories,” President Salome Zurabishvili told Bloomberg. If Russia is not required to withdraw its troops completely, the West will make another mistake, the same as in 2008 and 2014, Zurabishvili believes. The country can’t afford another failure to win the formal EU candidacy, which could embolden Russia by presenting Georgia as a “gray zone” for its ambitions, Bloomberg quoted Zurabishvili as saying.

Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky claimed the Georgian authorities are torturing former President Mikheil Saakashvili. “From my point of view, the Georgian government is killing him. They have poisoned him and now, sorry, but they are killing him little by little?” asked Zelensky, displaying printouts of emaciated Saakashvili at a joint press conference with the President of Austria.

During his special briefing late on February 1, Minister of Justice Rati Bregadze said “inmate Mikheil Saakashvili” was taking “steps towards self-harm.” He brushed aside the criticism over the former president’s condition as “destructive actions of the radical opposition to ensure their political viability.” President Zurabishili declined to comment on calls to pardon Saakashvili but told Bloomberg “an individual case will determine our European future.” In the meantime, political groupings at the European Parliament have endorsed an urgent debate to discuss Saakashvili’s health.

The Media Advocacy Coalition, a press freedom watchdog, denounced the ruling-party-led campaign to discredit the critical journalists. The coalition claimed that in some cases the journalists’ personal data was illegally disclosed and transferred to third parties.

The 57th round of the Geneva International Discussions (GID) is rescheduled for April instead of February 21-22, UN, OSCE, and EU representatives – known as co-chairs – stated. The “foreign minister” of Abkhazia decried this “unilateral move”, adding the representatives of these organizations are not welcome in Sokhumi for usual consultations. GID is a multilateral forum to address the security and humanitarian consequences of the Russo-Georgian War of August 2008.

Don’t miss a beat!

Democratic and effective governance remains the country’s top challenge in 2022, while Georgia performs relatively better in social and economic policy, according to the Georgia Governance Index (GGI). As for Georgia’s foreign relations, in the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, “the country found it difficult to adapt to the dynamic environment and to manage the opportunities reasonably,” the study notes. GGI is a comprehensive study prepared by the Georgian Institute of Politics (GIP), a think-tank.

Comings and Goings  

Dimitrios Karabalis, a Greek diplomat, is appointed by the EU council as the new Head of Mission for the European Union Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM Georgia). Until this appointment, Dimitrios Karabalis held the position of Director at the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs, overseeing Russia, Ukraine, and South Caucasus. From 2017 to 2021, he served as Ambassador of the Hellenic Republic to Georgia. EUMM Georgia is a civilian monitoring mission, operating in Georgia since October 2008, following the EU-mediated Six Point Cease-fire Agreement of 12 August 2008.  

Ancient frescoes Georgia’s 12-13cc. Gelati monastery, a UNESCO World Patrimony site near Kutaisi, is crumbling, and this is partly due to botched conservation work, the experts found. The Ministry of Justice tried to discredit the authors as politically biased, but unusually, the Orthodox Church publicly dressed down Tea Tsulukiani, an influential deputy prime minister who also carries the Culture portfolio. To know more,


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