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Georgia’s PM accuses US of trying to spark ‘two revolutions’

Washington would like to see Georgia open a “second front” against Moscow, Irakli Kobakhidze says

Washington has backed two “revolution attempts” in Georgia over the past years, the nation’s prime minister, Irakli Kobakhidze, said on Saturday. A successful coup would have turned the former Soviet state into another bridgehead used to open “the second front” against Moscow, he warned.

The statements came as Kobakhidze discussed the present American attitude toward recent developments in his nation with Derek Chollet, the counselor of the US State Department, the prime minister said on X (formerly Twitter). Washington’s current rhetoric reminds him of previous “false” statements made by US officials that had already led to “violence,” he added.

“Two revolution attempts of 2020-2023 [were] supported by the former US Ambassador and those carried out through NGOs financed from external sources,” Kobakhidze said in his post. “Had these attempts been successful, the second front line would have been opened in Georgia.”

The prime minister did not specify which specific events he was referring to. Georgia has seen several waves of massive protests, in which demonstrators demanded the government’s resignation or early elections, and eventually descended into violence.

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Protesters clash with police outside the Georgian parliament in Tbilisi, May 1, 2024.
WATCH protesters storm Georgia’s parliament (VIDEOS)

In November 2020, massive demonstrations broke out in the capital Tbilisi after the first round of national parliamentary elections saw the ‘Georgian Dream’ party gain more than 48% of the vote. The opposition then claimed the elections were rigged and demanded the head of the Central Elections Commission resign and that parliamentary elections be held anew.

In February 2021, massive clashes erupted, again in Tbilisi, as Georgian police stormed the main office of the opposition United National Movement (UNM) and detained party leader Nikanor (Nika) Melia. The politician was accused of inciting riots in the capital two years ago, in 2019.

In March 2023, the Georgian capital saw large-scale protests against a “foreign agents” bill. At that time, the parliamentary majority voted in favor of the bill, which requires any organization receiving more than 20% of its funding from abroad to register as a foreign agent. Opposition politicians denounced the proposal as copying a Russian law, arguing this was somehow endangering Georgian democracy and Euro-Atlantic integration.

The developments saw thousands of people join the protests, which quickly turned violent, resulting in dozens of arrests. The bill was then withdrawn by MPs at that time.

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Demonstrators attempt to break through the barriers near the parliament building in Tbilisi, Georgia, April 28, 2024
Violence erupts at Georgian ‘foreign agents’ bill protest (VIDEOS)

Similar events unfolded on Wednesday, when lawmakers approved the same bill on its second reading. The capital was quickly thrown into turmoil, with demonstrators seeking to break into parliament and clashing with the police.

“False statements made by the officials of the US State Department about the transparency bill and street rallies remind us of similar false statements made by the former US Ambassador in 2020-2023, which served to facilitate violence from foreign-funded actors and to support revolutionary processes back then,” Kobakhidze said, commenting on the situation.

Former American envoy to Tbilisi, Kelly Degnan, repeatedly commented on Georgia’s internal affairs and was particularly vocal about the “foreign agents” bill, which she compared to “similar legislation in Russia,” claiming that it would have a “devastating impact” on rights groups. She also maintained that Georgia does not need “any version” of it.

Washington also criticized a new attempt to adopt the bill in May. “We are deeply concerned about this legislation – what it could do in terms of stifling dissent and free speech,” White House national security spokesman John Kirby said this week.

A new US ambassador to Georgia, Robin Dunnigan, who took over from Degnan in 2023, also warned that the Georgian government’s choices “have moved the country away from its Euro-Atlantic future.”

May 05, 2024 at 12:24AM
RT

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