The Prime Minister of Georgia, Irakli Garibashvili, the Speaker of the Parliament, Shalva Papuashvili and GD Chair, Irakli Kobakhidze, re-enforced the statement released today by the State Security Service of Georgia (SSSG), which said that three Serbian trainers, who were brought to Georgia to participate in a program funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), were actively recruiting activists with the intent of orchestrating the violent overthrow of Georgia’s lawfully elected government.
PM: “Lowlifes,” “radicals,” to be “punished with utmost severity”
Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili spoke about the issue at a government meeting today. He said the SSSG statement “fully aligns” with previous disclosures made to the public, where the government exposed the plans and intentions of “destructive, hostile and anti-national forces” operating domestically and with external support.
Garibashvili said that it has become clear that “foreign countries are actively involved” in these “revolutionary” activities with the arrival of citizens from abroad to conduct training sessions “disguised as training for individuals in the field of art and culture,” but really aimed at giving “instructions” on how to incite a revolution and overthrow the government by force, said PM echoing the security services’ line.
Garibashvili said the “lowlife, destructive, radical forces” seem to be out of touch with the current times, and act “as if it were still 2003.”
“It is now 2023, and we [Georgian Dream] have been in power for over eleven years,” PM Garibashvili said, “We will certainly not allow any disorder and destabilization in the country by such lowlife, destructive radical forces. I want to tell you that today the state is strong and stands firmly on its feet”.
The PM reiterated that the government does not intend to allow disruptions that could jeopardize the Georgian Dream’s “hard-earned” peace and stability, especially considering the numerous crises experienced in Georgia since the 1990s, including civil unrest and wars.
PM Garibashvili said the “only desire of the “destructive forces” is “to violently overthrow the government and open a second front [of the Russo-Ukrainian war – eds.] in the country. We remember the March demonstrations [in support of the EU and against the Russian law to restrict CSOs and independent media- eds.], how the students were used and then abandoned, how they were instructed to throw Molotov cocktails. These are their dirty, anti-national, anti-state plans”.
“We will resist, and we will not allow it. All those who carry out these anti-state plans will be punished with the utmost severity,” stated the Prime Minister.
Furthermore, the Prime Minister expressed disappointment and called for a transparent explanation from the local USAID office, citing the longstanding cooperation between the government and USAID in various fields.
Speaker: “The dark day in the history of U.S. assistance to Georgia”
Shalva Papuashvili, the Speaker of the Parliament of Georgia, responded to questions from journalists regarding the briefing held at the State Security Service and the published materials, stating: “This marks a dark day in the history of the U.S. assistance to Georgia. It appears that the U.S. taxpayers’ funds are being used to orchestrate revolutionary processes, to prepare individuals for unrest, and incite violence deliberately.”
He stressed the need for the USAID to provide the necessary clarifications while claiming that USAID had been “involved in such schemes before,” citing the case in 2020 when the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) “reported false parallel vote tabulation (PVT) results to the public,” which, the speaker claimed USAID was aware of, but did not address despite the controversy it caused.
Speaker Papuashvili used the opportunity to speak of the benefits of the Russian law on “foreign agents“, which the ruling party was forced to recall after public protests in March 2023. Denigrating the actors who obstructed the law’s adoption, which, he claimed was only “requiring transparency in foreign financing”, he stressed that had that law passed, the public would already know what the “destructive forces” financed from abroad. Papuashvili concluded: “The organizers of the violent rallies at that time deprived the Georgian people of their right to access this information.”
GD Chair Kobakhidze: USAID must give clarifications
Commenting on the security service’s claims, Irakli Kobakhidze, Chairman of the Georgian Dream party, said at the briefing today that individuals involved in “planning a revolution” had concealed their true intentions by “falsely claiming that the training sessions held in Georgia were intended for representatives of the cultural sphere.”
He noted that the involvement of USAID was “the most disturbing fact” saying the agency is supposed to be helping Georgia but is in fact funding “extremist activities.” Kobakhidze stated: “We need clarification as to why such training, the direct purpose of which was to prepare for a revolution in Georgia, was funded by the USAID.”
Kobakhidze argued that even though this training was purportedly about non-violent activism, in reality, it trained individuals “precisely in violent activism.” He stated that the goal was one: “chaos, revolution, and the ultimate goal, we all know what it is, the opening of the second front, which has not been achieved since 2022 when the war in Ukraine began.”