On February 11, Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia thanked two congressmen in the US House of Representatives, Gary Connolly and Adam Kinzinger, for their support of Georgia. In a post on the social network “Twitter”, the head of the government called both of them great friends and supporters of Georgia, which, in his estimation, is confirmed not only by this one specific document, but also by previous statements or reports.
According to Gakharia, such documents once again show that Georgia, as an important partner, has bipartisan support from the United States. This support confirms that the country is closer than ever to true democratic values, and that unprecedentedly effective steps are being taken in terms of integration into Euro-Atlantic structures. Later, Connolly-Kinzinger’s bill was followed by applause in the Georgian political spectrum. Representatives of a separate government and the so-called pro-western opposition say the document is another international victory for Georgia, but neither side has explained how the mentioned act is considered to be an achievement for the country, what it actually changes and what the consequences will be.
Let me remind you that Adam Kinzinger, who was declared a “great friend and supporter” of Georgia by the Prime Minister, assessed the arrest of Gigi Ugulava about a year ago and then his imprisonment as political persecution; Gigi Ugulava, the leader of European Georgia, was arrested today and sentenced to 38 months for an old crime he had committed in the past. To put it mildly, this is just annoying. Using the court as a tool is not democracy … ”
Soso Tsintsadze, a political scientist, talks to “Georgia and the World” about the meaning of the support act initiated by the American congressmen for Georgia, what political impact it may have in the future and what we should expect in the wake of this process.
– Mr. Soso, these days the pro-Georgia act initiated by two American congressmen – Kinzinger and Connolly in the House of Representatives – has caused applause in our political spectrum. Estimates have been made that this is an expression of unprecedented support, that it shows how close we are to Euro-Atlantic structures, and so on. Giorgi Gakharia called these two congressmen big supporters of Georgia … Do you think these assessments are real? And most importantly, what do such documents change for us?
– Let’s start with the fact that this is not the first time that Kinzinger and Connolly initiated such a document in the House of Representatives. They have done this before and even then we heard no less bold assessments. In terms of political significance, all this, of course, has a certain meaning, but in this particular case, it is important that any document of similar content that the United States or the European Parliament adopts, be properly perceived and understood in our political spectrum. In this regard, I still do not see adequate approaches … As for the specific question of what the support act will change, obviously, I am far from the idea that after its initiation there was a major breakthrough in our reality and tomorrow we will take serious steps, such as steps towards restoration of territorial integrity, but this is not the main thing, the main thing is the perception and interpretation of the government itself around all this, when it tells us that it turns out that Georgian democracy is developing, you can see how much America supports us. I probably would not exaggerate in assessment if I say that this is complete infantilism; A complete illusion and demagoguery that has nothing to do with politics or diplomacy. In general, diplomacy is not an ordinary profession that tolerates dilettantism and superficial attitudes. It can’t tolerate it and we believe in it every day … Now what was the message actually of the act initiated by Connolly-Kinzinger: First – I think it is not accidental that all this coincided in time with the legal prosecution against Nika Melia; And secondly, we will soon see that the words of praise from the West, which the government uses quite well here for its own political PR, can be replaced by harsh criticism. Anyway, I think so and this will probably not be surprising, because for the West the Melia theme begins and ends with Melia being the leader of the largest opposition party. That’s all! This is the main thing for them, and the rest is already accompanying …
– About a year ago, when Gigi Ugulava was arrested and sentenced to prison, Kinzinger was exactly the person who sharply criticized the government. He said that persecution of people for political purposes is not democracy … Do you think that the story about Melia could be a reason for similar pressure?
– of course. Moreover, there will be pressure, harsh criticism and the topic of certain political sanctions can be mentioned as well. As for the act initiated by Connolly-Kinzinger again, in fact, we were told that they watch us, observe us and see everything. We will see the rest very soon with concrete actions. One thing is already clear and we all see it – the distrust towards the Georgian judiciary is very high, which is due to the fact that the Georgian judiciary is sometimes really very unconvincing. In general, since the day of gaining independence, the crisis of institutions has become a kind of chronic disease of Georgia. We probably all agree on that. This is a systemic problem that cannot and will not be solved, so questions will certainly arise. By the way, I remember, still from the Gamsakhurdia period, when diplomacy was in the hands of rather exotic personalities, the West had two main questions with the ruling team: First – why are you a nationalist? (Which was a fake label sewn in a negative context for the then government) and second – what are you going to do to the court? Here, the claims have not changed since then. As for Melia, yes, this is one specific case, but I have said and I will repeat: Melia is the leader of the main opposition party for them, just like Nika Gvaramia is the head of the number one first opposition television. That’s all, this is the main thing, so any prosecution against him will always be assessed as political repression.
– Let’s return to the document initiated by Kinzinger and Connolly. According to the authorities, all this will eventually lead Georgia to integration into Euro-Atlantic structures, territorial integrity and so on. Are these estimates real?
– As I told you, this is complete infantilism. Most of what the West can do today for Georgia’s territorial integrity is a policy of non-recognition. That’s all! Whether we like it or not, they cannot go beyond that, so we have to believe it. However, if anyone thinks that this non-recognition is either a cause of great political or diplomatic discomfort for Russia, or for Abkhazians and Ossetians, they are very mistaken. As for the other real perspective, in the direction of restoring territorial integrity, of course, we must actively use the international political arena, which is represented by Russia, the United States, Europe and all, but what is the worst, you know? The fact that Georgia has no policy at all with Abkhazians, Ossetians – neither right nor wrong. Whatever the situation we are in today, it is a complete stagnation, anything is better than this, because the wrong policy will still highlight and show the mistakes. This is where all the other problems start, which we have not been able to solve for three decades now, so when there is a problem, let’s say someone is caught near the so-called border and you cry for help in front of the EU representatives, this is politics; This is, I repeat, a political nursery from which the country should not expect anything good …
– Do you think these approaches can be changed under this government?
– If you mean Georgian-Ossetian, Georgian-Abkhazian relations, I do not think so. This is my subjective opinion and I have talked about it with you before. As for the relations with Russia, as you know, there is the Abashidze-Karasin format, which at first did not seem to be a bad start, but then nothing great … What is happening today – I know Zurab Abashidze very well and as a diplomat, as a professional, I have great respect towards him, but what can somebody do, he has no rights. Once in three months you will go, meet Karasin, talk for 20 minutes, drink coffee and leave, that’s all. Here, at this level, his rights and function as a diplomat are reduced. What else can you say, he, by his nature, is not going up the barricades, he is a civilized diplomat who was cut off his wings and told: Fly … Of course, we have no policy. This is completely clear, so obviously we should not have any expectations …
Interviewed by Jaba Zhvania
P.S. Eleven members of the family of Kinzinger, who was called by the Georgian Prime Minister as a great supporter, wrote a letter to him saying that he had joined the Devil’s Army, rejected Christian principles and President Trump, so he should leave politics.