Georgian Politicians React to Killing of Georgian Citizen by Occupation Forces

On November 6, Russian occupying forces shot dead a Georgian citizen, Tamaz Ginturi, near the village of Kirbali in the vicinity of the Tskhinvali region occupation line (municipality of Gori). According to the SSSG, another Georgian citizen was abducted.

While politicians from all sides condemned the killing of Georgian citizen by the occupying forces, members of the ruling “Georgian Dream” party also insisted that the occupation is a legacy of the previous government, which should be blamed alongside Russia and the occupying regime. The representatives of the opposition, in turn, criticized the members of the GD for diverting attention and using the tragedy for narrow political ends. compiled the reactions from across the Georgian political spectrum to the killing of a Georgian citizen by the Russian occupation forces:

Ruling party representatives

Irakli Garibashvili, Prime Minister of Georgia: “This incident confirms the dire security situation on the ground and bears witness to the severe consequences of occupation; unfortunately, along with the Georgian Government, peaceful citizens are also forced to deal with these consequences. I extend my condolences to the family members and loved ones of the deceased and join them in grieving over this tragedy. At this time of sorrow, the state is standing by them. With regard to this incident, all relevant mechanisms have been set in motion, and international partners are duly informed. Active work is underway to ensure the prompt release of another Georgian citizen illegally detained by the occupant forces. We urge the international community to duly assess and respond to the incident and call on the occupation regime’s representatives to cooperate with all parties in order to identify and punish the culprit.”

Irakli Kobakhidze, “Georgian Dream” Chair: “Occupation claimed another life of a Georgian citizen. Russia’s occupation of Georgian territories is the gravest legacy of the treacherous policies of the previous government, which we have to deal with in everyday life. I express my condolences to the family and relatives of Tamaz Ginturi. Everything must be done to punish the perpetrator.”

Shalva Papuashvili, “Georgian Dream”, Chairman of the Parliament: “I resolutely condemn the atrocious fact of killing of a Georgian citizen Tamaz Ginturi by the Russian occupation forces in the village of Kirbali, near the occupation line. The Georgian Government is doing everything to release another illegally detained Georgian citizen and bring the perpetrator to justice. I call on the international partners to condemn the fact and strengthen their pressure on Russia, in accordance with the 2008 EU-mediated ceasefire agreement, to end the occupation.” On November 7, Papuashvili told journalists: “This fact and yesterday’s killing show us how fragile peace is, and that it should be taken care of. This fact is the exact confirmation that the challenges we have as an occupation, are the daily threat to our peace, for which having a smart policy is important in order to avoid large-scale conflict in the country… Generally, it is hard to judge the past events, but the fact remains as it is. Occupation is the legacy of the previous government…Every citizen should look at the security risks that our country has, and secondly, these risks should not be realized.”

Kakha Kaladze, General Secretary of “Georgian Dream”, Tbilisi Mayor: “Another Georgian citizen has fallen victim to the evil called Russian occupation. I express my condolences to the relatives and friends of the murdered and to the whole of Georgia. The occupation of the two historic regions of Georgia is the most difficult legacy of the previous government. Today, the biggest challenge for us is that large parts of our country’s territory are occupied by Russia, and for the future we must do everything to de-occupy them”.

Mikheil Sarjveladze, Chairman of the Human Rights Protection and Civil Integration Committee of the Parliament: “This is what none of the Georgians will ever get used to, this is the absolute anomaly and insanity that a Georgian citizen becomes a victim of the occupation. This is an absolutely illegal, bestial fact… Everything will be done to ensure that this particular case, this barbaric crime, does not go unpunished.”

Nikoloz Samkharadze, “Georgian Dream” MP, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee: “Russian occupation forces killed peaceful Georgian citizen at the occupation line once again proving that conflict is not “frozen” and occupation poses daily threats to our citizens and our sovereignty. This heinous act occurred 48 hours before the European Commission report about Georgia’s candidate status.” 

Opposition representatives

“Droa” & “Girchi-More Freedom’s” Joint Statement: “Droa” and “Girchi-More Freedom” express their condolences to the family of the murdered and to the whole of Georgia. The only enemy of the Georgian state is Russia – a terrorist state that kills our citizens on our territory and does not take responsibility for it. The treacherous Georgian government assures us that Russia is not a problem and is busy cozying up and deepening relations with it. Meanwhile, as Georgian citizens living on the occupation line have been abandoned for years without any support and supervision; as there are no monitoring and control institutions and patrolling groups on the occupation line to prevent and suppress such facts; as at the request of the Russians, “Georgian Dream” removed the police groups and checkpoints that allow the occupiers to violate the Georgian citizens unhindered; as after the murders of Giga Otkhozoria and Archil Tatunashvili, the “Georgian Dream” government did nothing to increase international pressure and to hold Russia accountable for these brutal murders; as a few days ago, precisely in Kirbali, the occupiers sealed the church door after the Georgian flag was raised; as in response to this, the spokesperson of the Patriarchate, close to the government, Andria Jaghmaidze, said that the problem was the raising of the Georgian flag and not the Russian occupation – it was the state’s inaction that emboldened the Russian occupiers. We will never get used to the Russian occupation and all the occupiers who kidnap and kill the Georgian citizens will be held responsible in the strictest sense of the word.” 

Tinatin Bokuchava, “United National Movement”: Yesterday’s horrific murder showed once again that the narrative of the Russian Dream is false from beginning to end. Is this peace?! The only way to achieve real peace, to ensure the safety of our citizens on Georgian territory, is for Georgia to join NATO and the EU. We must fight and work for this… Unfortunately, the current government has chosen a policy of collaboration and conciliation with the enemy, and what it gives us is such harsh facts as we saw yesterday.

Mamuka Khazaradze, Leader of “Lelo – For Georgia”: “This is a crime. This is a murder and another confirmation of the fact that Russia is an occupier. Russia has our country conquered. Therefore, we demand that the Georgian government forces [the occupying regime] to hand over the murderers to our law enforcement agencies. “Georgian Dream serves Russia in Georgia through its policies. This is our biggest problem. Therefore, “Georgian Dream” must be removed from the government, so that not only such facts will not happen, but we will also finally get back our captured lands.”

Teona Akubardia, Parliamentary Political Group “Reforms Group”, MP: “This [fact] once again emphasizes the threat that is the Russian occupation, which is unending. We have seen many times that Russia kills…In the new circumstances, we must do everything not to support the isolation from the West, as the “Georgian Dream” does so, but to strengthen the support of our partners and finally achieve de-occupation.”

Giorgi Vashadze, Leader of “Strategy Agmashenebeli”: “The worst tragedy occurred yesterday in the village of Kirbali, the greatest injustice… This is the indescribable catastrophe; and secondly, that all this happened in the Georgian-controlled territory. It turns out that, unfortunately, our citizens are not safe in the territories controlled by us…After all this tragedy, we are witnessing the greatest crime and injustice on the part of the “Georgian Dream”. It turns out that [for them], it is not Russia that is to blame for the occupation, but the previous government. Is this not exactly the Russian narrative that blamed Georgia for starting the war in 2008?! This is exactly the Russian narrative, which is a continuation of the Russian propaganda.”

Gigi Tsereteli, “European Georgia”: “This murder is against our statehood, our sovereignty. Therefore, the policy of the [Georgian] government is harmful and leads to such results… Peace is not what Russia wants; and such position must be met with principled resistance.”

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