skip to content

Georgian Politicians React to Protest Rally in Kakheti and to President’s Briefing on the Issue

On May 19, after the first Russian plane landed in Tbilisi following Russia’s decision to resume direct flights with Georgia, it emerged that Mika Vinokurov, the brother of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s son-in-law, got married in Tbilisi and was planning to hold a post-wedding event at the Kvareli Lake Resort Hotel in the Kakheti region on May 20. It was reported that Lavrov’s daughter, Yekaterina Lavrova, had also arrived in Georgia, but the resort’s administration did not officially confirm the report, saying that “the visit of Lavrov’s daughter to Kvareli Lake is not true” and that no guest with the surname Lavrov was registered. Reports later confirmed that the daughter of Russia’s top diplomat was indeed among the guests. Protest rallies were held near the resort, during which 17 politicians and activists were harshly treated and arrested.

Later the same day, 20 May, President Salome Zurabishvili held a presidential briefing in which she said she had been assured by Interior Minister Vakhtang Gomelauri that the Russian guests had left the Kvareli resort.

Irakli Kobakhidze, GD Chair

“I am a human rights specialist, I have received education in these field in Germany, and I can tell you that sanctioning of family members is against human rights standards.”

“The so-called protest that we saw yesterday has only one goal, which is escalation, which is to create chaos in the country, to create provocations and the final goal is [opening] the second front. I would like to call on the public to observe these events properly and make a correct assessment.”

“We’ve predicted in advance that with the approach of the tourist season, a new wave of xenophobic campaigns would surely begin, and what we predicted came true… This is one of the branches of the liberal-fascist campaign, I would say. I urge everyone to refrain from this kind of campaign. There is no place for xenophobia in Georgia.”

Gia Volski, Parliament Vice Speaker

“She was Lavrov’s daughter, we later learned. Now she is Vinokurova, with a different surname, her husband’s surname. It was the husband’s brother’s wedding, they told me, and the husband’s brother is known for quite anti-Russian statements, including on Facebook, and he had quite positive comments from Ukrainians. To ask a son or daughter to answer for his father…   Well, it’s bad, I don’t like it, Lavrov’s daughter shouldn’t have come here, right?  Posner should not have come. Mikhalkov should not have come, to whom Saakashvili went and bowed”.

Kakha Kaladze, Tbilisi Mayor

“They’re the usual hypocrites, it’s the usual double standard, look at the statements they made years ago and how angry they are today… In 2008 there was a war and we lost territories, which could have been a bigger problem, but it turned out that after the war it was possible for the Russians to come and do business, we saw what statements people made”.

Levan Ioseliani, Ombudsman

“When your country is occupied, such visits, especially when the children of high officials arrive, are perceived with sensitivity. The anger of the people who came and protested is perfectly understandable”.

Nika Melia, UNM Member

“Lavrov is the author of the bloodshed that took place in 2008. Mr. Lavrov and his family members are the authors of what is happening in Ukraine today. Today they dare to come here and toast Putin and the Russian army, wishing victory to the Russian army and defeat to Ukraine, victory to Russia and defeat to the Georgian nation. It is unbelievable cynicism, vulgar cynicism”.

Teona Akubardia, independent MP, political group “Reformers’ group”

“We see that our sovereignty is in fact limited by the ‘Georgian Dream’, which serves the Kremlin’s policy. In this context, it is necessary to resist and protect the country’s external vector… “We also see that the leader of Georgian Dream openly opposes Western sanctions and will not comply with them. In this context, the servants of the terrorist regime, which carries out such aggression not only in Ukraine but also in Georgia, are more likely to be invited to Georgia, this is another step against our sovereignty.”

Levan Khabeishvili, UNM Chair

“The Lavrovs, members of the Lavrov family, were themselves involved in the occupation of Georgia, this particular person – his son – demanded to take over Tbilisi in 2008. What more needs to be violated to prevent this person from entering?”

Petre Tsiskarishvili, UNM Secretary General

“The action plan is that we should not allow this Russian regime to deviate from the country’s Euro-Atlantic course… It is important and necessary that Georgia does not become a kind of a khinkali restaurant… Is Georgia the only venue where these criminals can gather and celebrate?”

Reactions to the statement by Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili

Salome Zurabishvili during her presidential briefing amid the protest rallies regarding the arrival to the country of the sanctioned Lavrov family members, said: “…I am boycotting Airzena and I encourage you to do the same. This is a company that takes advantage of this situation to get rich”. “…it was quite difficult for me to contact the Minister of the Interior, but I got a promise from him that the family and the people who were going have the second part of the wedding festivities, have left and therefore the wedding will not take place today. This is a kind of victory for society, because once it was Gavrilov’s departure from this country, but this is one incident, and it does not solve the problem.” The President criticized the Georgian authorities for failing to prevent the sanctioned individuals from entering the country. She also slammed GD Chair Irakli Kobakhidze for toying with xenophobia accusations. Her briefing prompted reactions from politicians as well as from director of Georgian Airways.

Tamaz Gaiashvili, Director of Airzena/Georgian Airways

“Mrs. Zurabishvili has announced a boycott of the national airline, we declare her persona non grata and we will not allow her on board until she apologizes to the Georgian people.”

Parliament Speaker, Shalva Papuashvili

“I can’t judge, it’s a matter of their dialogue, and both are unacceptable to me – that the president boycotts a Georgian company and that a Georgian company boycotts the president.”

Irakli Kobakhidze, Georgian Dream Chair  

“…Salome Zurabishvili does not have the right to speak on behalf of the Georgian people when it comes to any issue, for a simple reason, the people of Georgia have given the legitimacy to determine the policy in this country to the ‘Georgian Dream’ government, parliament, authorities, this is the reality and the president does not have the right to speak on behalf of the people”.

“…secondly, when the president herself starts a xenophobic campaign, when she considers the disruption of the second day of the wedding as a victory of the people, it is simply shameful… “

Mamuka Mdinaradze, GD Faction Chair

“People’s emotions are being tested to see whether they will allow and accept the message that Georgia is considering its future prospects without Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region. Against the background of such global, dirty plans, the second day of the wedding was postponed. Unfortunately, the President of Georgia fits into this “UNM” narrative. Her statement contains a lie because it was impossible for Vakhtang Gomelauri [Interior Minister] to tell her that he would postpone the wedding…”

Levan Khabeishvili, UNM Chair

“We are dealing with the Russian regime, which a few hours ago played a trick, the Russian oligarch Bidzina Ivanishvili loves tricks, and they played the trick – they told President Salome Zurabishvili to tell a lie that these people have left and are no longer in this hotel… This lie serves a purpose, so that there is no protest momentum, so that there are no problems for Lavrov and his family members, and to show the Kremlin that they are being protected…”.

Paata Manjgaladze, Strategy Aghmashenebeli

“If Salome Zurabishvili does not move from talking to action, and does not release Nika Gvaramia, I will consider her a representative of the one-actor theatre. Why? Because she is an ally of Bidzina in all strategic matters. I have not seen Salome Zurabishvili dissociate herself from the actions of Bidzina Ivanishvili; whatever Kobakhidze does, Bidzina does, because Kobakhidze represents nothing without Bidzina”.

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


Back to top button