Moscow Reacts to the Protest Rallies in Tbilisi

Representatives of the Russian authorities and Kremlin propagandists are actively commenting on the events related to the protests in Tbilisi against the so-called “foreign agents”. Some of them declare that the bill initiated in the Parliament of Georgia, which the ruling party Georgian Dream has already withdrawn after 3 days of protests, has nothing to do with Russia, while others are already threatening Georgia with negative consequences of these events.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov said that Russia was not involved in the “unrest” in Georgia and the “foreign agents” law. “Nothing there was inspired by the Kremlin, the Kremlin has absolutely nothing to do here,”- TASS quoted Peskov.

According to Peskov, the “pioneers” in such laws were the United States. “And one version of the (Georgian) bill, if we understand correctly, was very similar to a similar US law. The second version was less similar to the US law, was much milder in nature. But, of course, we have nothing to do with either one,” Peskov said.

In connection with the protests taking place in Tbilisi, Peskov said that this was of “concern” to the Kremlin. “It is, after all, our neighbouring country, and despite the fact that we do not have relations with Georgia as such, of course, the situation there cannot but cause our concern. Of course, it is important for us to have calmness on our borders, of course, now the situation there leaves much to be desired,” said the Press Speaker of the President of Russia.

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova reacted to a statement by EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell criticizing Georgia’s “foreign agents” law and said: “Borrel said that the foreign agents’ law that sparked protests in Tbilisi was incompatible with EU values. Now we understand why the U.S. is not yet in the European Union – there the law has been in force there since 1938.”

Grigory Karasin, member of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, and Russian representative at the informal talks with the representative of the Prime Minister of Georgia Zurab Abashidze, also commented on Borrell’s statement.

“Calm Borrel down, please! He is trying to lecture us again, this time he is harassing Georgian citizens. This has already crossed the boundaries of decency!”, Karasin wrote in his Telegram channel.

After the ruling Georgian Dream announced its decision to withdraw the bill on “agents of foreign influence,” Russian State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said that “Washington has not allowed Georgia to become sovereign.”

“Many people who have heard about the events in Georgia have a question: what is going on if some foreign agents bill could lead to such a confrontation? Especially when the same law was passed in the United States itself 85 years ago and still works,” Volodin writes in his Telegram channel.

According to Volodin, “if the law on foreign agents was passed, Georgia would get the right to control the funds transferred to the country from abroad,” to finance the opposition, the media and NGOs “forming an anti-Georgian agenda.”

“We have complicated relations with Georgia. At the inter-parliamentary level there are none. But despite this we would like to wish Georgia to establish itself as a sovereign country. They are our neighbours,” Volodin added.

In the meantime, it has become known that the Russian Ministry of Economic Development “recommends Russian citizens to refrain from travelling to Georgia”. For those Russian citizens who are already in Georgia, the ministry recommends “avoid visiting crowded places, in particular the historic centers of Batumi and Tbilisi”.

The Kremlin propagandist and head of RT Margarita Simonyan claims that protesters in Tbilisi are shouting “Sukhumi! Sukhumi” and according to her it means that “all this fuss is only needed to open the second front for us”. As she wrote on her Facebook page, “in case of repetition of August 2008 no one will scratch with Georgia and will not send troops there, but will just fire at Tbilisi without much consideration.”

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


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