The Daily Beat: 15 February
The European Parliament adopted a new resolution on Mikheil Saakashvili, expressing concern over the deteriorating health of imprisoned ex-President and calling for his release. The resolution states that the Saakashvili case is a “litmus test of the Georgian government’s commitment to European values and its declared European aspirations, including EU candidate status.” European MPs also reminded Georgian authorities of their responsibility to ensure the well-being of Mikheil Saakashvili and suggested a presidential pardon as the way out of this political impasse. The resolution was supported by 577 deputies against 33.
Senior MPs from the ruling Georgian Dream party, including party chairman Irakli Kobakhidze and speaker Shalva Papuashvili, slammed the EU parliament and its resolution. “The resolutions of the European Parliament have become a source of disinformation and attacks on Georgia,” decried the speaker. While the chair of the ruling party was quoted as saying, “such a decision would be the envy of the Supreme Council of the USSR.”
Foreign Minister Ilia Darchiashvili visited Slovakia, where he met with his Slovak counterpart Rastislav Káčer, discussing the impacts of Russian aggression, Georgia’s EU integration, and the situation in the South Caucasus region. Ministers signed the cooperation protocol, marking the 30th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between the two countries. The cooperation protocol recognizes the European perspective of Georgia and reflects support for Georgia’s full-fledged membership of European and Euro-Atlantic structures. According to Slovak foreign ministry, the Georgian government’s decision not to join sanctions is respected in Bratislava, but it is expected that Georgia will actively prevent attempts to circumvent them.
Poor-quality restoration work and the allegedly dilapidated state of the medieval Gelati monastery near Kutaisi in western Georgia have become a bone of contention between the Georgian Orthodox Church and the Ministry of Culture. Following the domestic and foreign expert’s concurrent findings regarding the sorry state of the Gelati monastery, the Georgian Orthodox Church issued an emphatic statement on the “critical” situation and called for dialogue between the stakeholders. Gelati Monastery is a masterpiece of the Golden Age of medieval Georgia, a period of political power and economic growth between the 11th and 13th centuries, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Domestic and international actors have continued criticizing the draft law on “foreign agents,” submitted by the sovereignist “People’s Power,” a spinoff of the ruling party and already cautiously endorsed by the Georgian Dream leaders. Georgian Institute of Politics collected some reactions, which we presented on our page.