Kremlin Speaker Sees “Risk of Provocations” After Tbilisi Protests

On March 10, the Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov was quoted by the press agency Interfax as saying the developments in Georgia create “risks of provocations” in relation to Georgia’s two territories occupied by Russia.

This follows the reports on March 9 of the phone consultation between the top diplomat of occupied Tskhinvali region Aleksey Dzhioev with his counterpart from Sokhumi, Inal Ardzinba. The two “expressed concern about the potential increase of tension and destabilization” stressing the role of Moscow “as the guarantor of peace and security in the region.”

In the same comment, Kremlin’s speaker also argued the developments had “nothing to do with the Russian Federation” but implied the United States was trying to pin the blame on Moscow.

Peskov referred to President Salome Zurabishvili’s supportive address to the protesters by saying “We see where the President of Georgia is addressing her people from. She is not talking to Georgians from Georgia, but from America, where someone’s ‘visible hand’ is trying to anti-Russian element [to the discourse].”

Peskov’s line of reasoning echoed the earlier comment by the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who argued the protest in Tbilisi is “of course orchestrated from the outside” and “very similar to Kyiv’s Maidan.” Lavrov argued the draft law “was just a pretext to start, in general, an attempt to change the government by force.”

The Kremlin has been reacting with consternation to the protests in Tbilisi against the bill on transparency of foreign influence and the consequent decision of the Georgian Dream majority to drop the attempts at its adoption in the Parliament. The bill was often referred to as “Russia-inspired.”

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