Georgia: 30 years of national movement, the disastrous consequences of the course on the EU and NATO

Thu, 15/03/2018 - 21:42

This year marks exactly 30 years since the national movement began to show itself more actively in Georgia in 1988 - numerous informal organizations that sought to dismantle the socialist system, to tear the GSSR away from the USSR and to introduce Georgia into the structures of the Common Market and NATO.
In hundreds of rallies and thousands of pages of newspapers and magazines, leaders of dozens of public associations, supported by popular journalists, intellectuals and cultural figures, assured the people that in this case Georgia was waiting for a breakthrough in economic development and a sharp rise in the living standards of workers.
Today we see a completely different result of their efforts, an entirely different result of the victory of the proclaimed political course.
Already for almost 30 years Georgia's foreign policy has been heavily dominated by the course of integration into Western military-political structures - the European Union, the North Atlantic Organization (NATO), etc. Considering that this is incompatible with membership in the Eurasian Union, it is clear that, since nothing significant has been received from the EU and NATO, Georgia rejects the prospects for full-fledged economic cooperation with the EU countries and, as a result, from the profits from this cooperation.
This position looks more than amazing. It would seem that for almost 30 years it has long been possible to understand which way is more in line with the real interests of the Georgian people. This way proved itself in a short historical period, allowing the Georgian people with the help of tsarist Russia, and even more so - the USSR to escape from the captivity of centuries of poverty, but most importantly - to get rid of bloody dependence on Turkey and Persia.
But, knowing that decisions are made in Georgia by forces that are somehow economically connected with the West and Western foundations, and the people only fulfill the functions of a weak-willed statistician without the right to vote, it becomes clear why such a disastrous political course remains for the majority of the population.
No later than in January 2018, the Georgian Civil Georgia news agency published the results of a public opinion poll conducted by the Caucasus Resource Research Center on behalf of the US National Democratic Institute (NDI) and with the financial support of the UK Government (UK Aid) on a wide spectrum issues, including foreign policy, government activities, etc. Within the framework of the survey, 2,298 respondents were interviewed on the basis of representative selection using the personal interview method. The margin of error is 1.9%.
According to the survey, the most important problems for respondents are unemployment (54%), price increases and inflation (35%), poverty (30%), pensions (25%), access to medical services (23%). But it was the increase in economic welfare and living standards that promised politicians who so persuasively agitated them to agree with the change in the geopolitical orientation from Russia to NATO.
We all remember that the visa-free regime with the EU was presented as a reward for membership in NATO. It was alleged that the inhabitants of Georgia will be able to travel to work in Europe and return to their homeland by the rich. These warm dreams were warmed by Georgians themselves on long cold winter nights in the 90s and 2000s.
It is symbolic that the visa-free regime between the EU and Georgia came into force on April 1, 2017 [2] - the day when it is accepted to deceive each other. After all, visa-free travel is a colossal deception, as some Georgian authors drew attention to. It was clear to everyone from the very beginning that most Georgians simply do not have that much money to afford to travel to Europe. And for others in the total cost of travel, the share of the cost of visa and consular services is so small that it can be neglected.
In addition, this regime does not give citizens of Georgia the right to work and earn money in Europe [3]. To this end, the visa is still necessary business visa [4].
Georgian journalist Keti Bochorishvili wrote last year: "The procedure for entering the countries of the European Union will not be facilitated in any way. Similarly, a person must have money in his bank account, maybe by the whole family, as before, he will not be admitted to the country - all this is preserved, and any customs officer can turn down a person who intends to enter the country of the European Union, not explaining even the reasons ..."
The Georgian expert on European policy Mamuka Zhgenti agrees: "All the documents that were necessary for a Georgian citizen to obtain a Schengen visa with which he went to the consulate of one of the Schengen countries, he or she should have these documents with him when will cross the border. But there is added an additional filter in the person of our own customs officers and border guards, because first of all the Georgian customs officers and border guards should check whether this citizen has all the documents that he will need to cross the border with the European Union. Therefore, the first filter already appears in Tbilisi, i.e. on our borders, and the second filter is of course the customs and border guards of the European Union. "
That is, as we see, not only has there been no real facilitation to visit Europe, but even more - there are even more obstacles.
On the practical possibility for a Georgian citizen to work in the European Union, Mamuka Zhgenti says: "If a person wants to work in the EU and thinks that he has a resource, so that his knowledge or practice is in demand, he can go, conduct consultations. The same goes for studying - he can go, pass exams, etc. But, in all cases, he will have to go back, go through all the procedures, obtain a new visa - business or training one - and then again return to the country of the European Union."
But here the question arises: if a citizen is so well-to-do that he can afford trips to the EU and the costs associated with consulting, examining, moving in Europe, living and eating at high European prices, why should he still seek for working abroad? Hence, this option is also available for a very small part of its population, even by the standards of Georgia.
As of the end of February 2018, that is, for eleven months, counting from April 1, 2017, only 230,000 Georgian citizens used the visa-free regime with the EU, that is less than 6.2 percent, if the population of Georgia is 3 718,200 people [5].
Against this background, the number of Georgian citizens is growing, which, in fear of unemployment, a poverty pension and the threat of poverty in their country, are turning to European countries with a request to grant them asylum from their own government, which denies them the right to a decent life.
The deputy of the Bundestag (parliament of Germany) from the faction of the CDU / CSU Stefan Mayer has stated that in September 2017, 238 Georgian citizens were asked for asylum in Germany, in October - 355, in November - 444, in December - 522 and in January 2018 - 745. In total, in 2017, 10,000 455 Georgian citizens were asked for asylum abroad, which is 35% more than in 2016 [6].
Not only that the number of asylum seekers has increased significantly, the head of the Federal Foreign Office Thomas de Mezier is worried about the growth of the number of Georgian criminals in his country [7]. Recently, in Germany in general, many people say that Georgians often violate the rules of the visa-free regime. Some politicians suggest suspending it. And the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia demanded that the visa-free regime for citizens of Georgia should be abolished. In parallel, began the accelerated mass expulsion of Georgian illegal immigrants.
We can see, the euphoria over granting to Georgian citizens a visa-free regime with the EU countries has been replaced by deep political and "everyday" depression, and Europe itself is taking measures to limit even such a very modest flow of Georgian citizens. For example, the Committee of the European Parliament on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) supported the initiative, according to which from 2020, third-country nationals, including Georgia, must have "pre-authorization" before entering the EU countries and Schengen zone. Without it, the path to the visa-free EU will be closed for a Georgian citizen.
Thus, Georgian citizens were deceived three times with a visa-free regime. The first fraud is that they were promised the opportunity to work in Europe and earn high European salaries, but in fact visa-free gives the right not to earn in Europe, but only the right to enter and spend money. The second fraud is that, despite the abolition of the visas themselves, all the old requirements, filters and obstacles have not only been preserved, but also increased and there is a possibility of their further tightening. The third deception is that the visa-free travel, presented as a reward for the course towards NATO membership, paid for all the hardships and tragedies of the post-Soviet period, turned out to be a "rotten commodity", not at all what the Georgians hoped to get.
Georgia's patriotic forces must be extremely disappointed, because in hopes of Western assistance, Georgian governments did nothing to preserve economic ties, to preserve advanced, profitable industrial enterprises, economic entities in the countryside...
Taking a course toward NATO, expecting economic prosperity based on Western aid, Georgia went on a sharp military and political confrontation with South Ossetia, Abkhazia, and then - even with Russia. Instead of further deepening and
developing friendly relations and mutual respect with these three proven historical friends and allies, the rulers of Georgia consistently led their country in the raging waves of adventurism in the fairway of Western political ambitions, unilaterally turning their country, their people into hostage to the evil will of an alien force.
Georgia, the Georgian people did not gain any profit from this, on the contrary - in all directions they suffered a failure, damage, losses.
More and more people in Georgia are beginning to understand this. Although this process is extremely slow, in the conditions of unbridled pro-NATO and pro-American propaganda it is surprising that it is generally going.
1 The number of respondents who agree with the government's stated goal of joining the EU declined from 77% in June 2017 to 72%. Support for accession to the EU is high across the country, but the exception is the regions inhabited predominantly by ethnic minorities - 51%.
64% of respondents said they supported the government's stated goal of joining NATO, which is 2% less than in June 2017. 26% of respondents oppose membership in NATO. In June 2017, this figure was 23%. Support for NATO membership in regions populated by ethnic minorities increased in June 2017 from 29% to 36%.
60% of respondents (62% in June 2017) answered that Georgia should join the EU, and 29% (23% in June 2017) replied that Georgia should join the Eurasian Union. 8% of respondents disagree with any of these opinions.
We see that in Georgia the sympathy for the EU and NATO is declining and growing - to the Eurasian Union, the backbone of which is the Russian Federation.
This could not remain misunderstood in Georgia. It is also seen by the Georgian statesman and politician, in 2001-2008 the Chairman of the Georgian Parliament, in 2003-2004 and 2007-2008, acting President of Georgia, leader of the Democratic Movement of Georgia Nino Burjanadze.
In an interview with the Russian edition of RIA Novosti, Nino Burjanadze unequivocally stated: "There is no place for Georgia in NATO, because NATO will never accept a country that has two unresolved conflicts on the territory, and this is clearly understood by all. As for whether we need membership in NATO - now not, but earlier, while Russia was weaker - yes. But now, after the war in 2008, definitely not. For Georgia, not only is it not necessary, but it is also harmful to talk about membership only because membership in NATO means giving up Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Let someone explain to me, are they going to join NATO with Russian bases? As for the exercises, it would be possible to conduct different types of exercises to train the Georgian army, for example, but to conduct exercises that clearly provoke Russia, it's just wrecking. When you introduce American tanks with the American flag on the central highway, where Russian tanks are 500 meters away, is that cleverly? It's not even stupid, it's stupid and, of course, it's a provocation. When you begin the parade to Independence Day by an American orchestra, American music, is it an indicator of independence, or the indicator that you consider yourself some kind of American state?. This does not mean that we should completely stop all relations with NATO or any organization, but we must cooperate with them for the benefit of Georgian interests, and not give them the opportunity to use Georgia to provoke and tease Russia. "
As we see, although N. Burdzhanadze opposes Georgia's membership in NATO, this position is dictated not by strategic but tactical considerations: today Russia is strong, and membership in NATO in the event of a direct clash turns Georgia into a convenient target. But, if Russia were weak, unable to respond to the aggressor, then it is quite another matter...
Nino Burjanadze, either because of her own conviction, or for reasons reasonably understandable to the politician for fear of the adverse reaction of some of the electorate, does not question the very basic historical choice of the course on NATO, once imposed on the Georgian people. But it happened under the conditions of undisguised psycho informational violence and unbridled terror, which made it impossible in Georgia not just dissent on the issue of NATO membership, but also the most inoffensive attempts to critically comprehend the path and the prospects for the development of the country offered by the pro-American officialdom and NGOs.
A critical point of view in relation to NATO was made by a number of representatives of the Georgian intelligentsia. Their resentment was prompted by the proposal of the representative of the American Heritage Foundation, Luke Coffey, that Georgia will join NATO without taking into account Article 5 of the Alliance's charter - the principle of collective defense - in the territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
"The US is trying to draw Georgia into a military confrontation with Russia," said leader of the party "Kartuli Dasi" Jondi Bagaturia.
"NATO is a military alliance. If Georgia joins NATO, then the countries of the Alliance will get a military advantage over Russia -they will open another military base near the southern borders of Russia. But what will Georgia get from this? .. This means that Georgia should enter into a military confrontation with Russia, that Georgia should become the target, including the nuclear potential of Russia, and for this Georgia will not receive anything from the NATO countries. This is absolutely unacceptable for the interests of our country, "Baguturia Sputnik said, commenting on the report of Luke Coffey.
According to the Georgian politician, NATO demands from Georgia that the country will not apply for military protection and assistance to Brussels.
Bagaturia is the author of a sensational open letter addressed to foreign diplomatic missions and international organizations accredited in Georgia.
In the letter he, along with a number of cultural figures, expressed alarm that "the pro-Western policy and the desire of the Georgians to join the NATO military alliance complicated Georgia's relations with neighboring Russia, and this led to the violation of the territorial integrity of Georgia, created socio-economic problems and prevented the development of the country. " In addition to Bagaturia, the letter was signed by the artistic director of the Rustaveli Theater Robert Sturua, the poet Rezo Amashukeli, the director Keti Dolidze, the academician Elizbar Javelidze, the president of the Georgian Academy of Sciences Georgy Kvesitadze, the editor-in-chief of the Literary Gazette Tamaz Tsivtsivadze, the actor Goga Kavtaradze, the actor and director Gogi Kharabadzei, a painter Temo Gotsadze and other prominent representatives of the Georgian intelligentsia.
They call into question the pro-Western course of Georgia. In their opinion, this policy complicated relations with Russia, led to loss of territories, impoverishment and population reduction.
"Over the past 30 years, Georgia has sacrificed much in the name of partnership with NATO. We believe that the partnership should be mutual, "the letter reads. According
to its authors, the latest proposals, voiced from Western expert circles, that the provisions of Article 5 of the NATO Charter on "collective defense" even in the event of Georgia's admission to the Alliance, do not apply to Abkhazia and South Ossetia, "may pose a threat to the rest of Georgia". NATO, as the events of 2008 proved, "did not and will not render any assistance to the country".
What do we see here? We see that the representatives of the Georgian intelligentsia quite rightly point out the disastrous consequences for Georgia. However, this is not for them the main factor that determined their distrust of NATO. The main factor for them was that in 2008 NATO did not send its troops to support the aggressive actions, military adventure of Georgia. The national intelligentsia must first of all defend its people. And here we see not the protection of the people of Georgia, but the reproach to NATO for not helping to plunge the people of South Ossetia into the same plight as the people of Georgia.
However, over the past 30 years in Georgia there has been such a transformation of consciousness that yesterday's ruler do not mean anything today , much less - the day before yesterday. Despite the critical attitude to the point of view of the authors of the letter on South Ossetia, they undoubtedly deserve respect for their services to art and culture, and because they dared openly express their views contrary to the opinion of the majority in the conditions of "democratic totalitarianism".
However, it should be noted that the Georgian politicians are moving in a completely opposite direction, and they are not at all concerned over the opinion of the national intelligentsia, the opinion of the intellectual elite of Georgia.
According to the Georgian presidential press office Georgian President Georgy Margvelashvili met with Swedish Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist on March 6 and discussed with him the "militaristic actions" of Russia and the threats coming from it.
The meeting discussed issues of cooperation between the two countries in the defense sphere and the participation of Sweden in the exercises that NATO conducted on the territory of Georgia.
According to the President of Georgia, regardless of whether this or that country is a member of NATO and the European Union, unification around common values and against a common threat is imperative.
The meeting was attended by Secretary of the National Security Council of Georgia David Rakviashvili, Defense Minister Levan Izoria and Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces Vladimir Chachibaya.
The Swedish Defense Minister is on his first official visit to Georgia, where he already met with his Georgian counterpart Levan Izoria and discussed with him the issues of bilateral cooperation and the participation of Sweden in the NATO-Georgia exercises. As Levan Isoria said after the meeting, Sweden will participate in these exercises next year [13].
Earlier in February, Georgian Prime Minister Georgy Kvirikashvili and Defense Minister Levan Izoria took part in the Munich Security Conference, during which they met with US Secretary of Defense James Mathis, who highly appreciated the service of Georgia in Afghanistan, as the largest contributing country, which is not a member of the North Atlantic Alliance.
"The meeting dealt with US-Georgia relations and regional security issues ... James Mattis has noted that this service claimed the lives of 32 Georgian servicemen, 290 were injured ... Mattis reaffirmed the US support for Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity," said the Pentagon official Dana White.
However, according to Mattis,the report of the US Institute for Strategic Studies "NATO membership for Georgia: for the benefit of the United States and Europe", which in February was presented in the conference hall of one of the most fashionable and fashionable hotels in Tbilisi.
The report contains a number of recommendations, one of which implies "Georgia's early membership in NATO - without IDA, without Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region." What kind of "sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia" means Matis, is not entirely clear.
Also in this report there is a recommendation "to promote the US free trade agreement with Georgia," which sounds very cynical. Throughout history, the US has not invested significant investments in the Georgian economy, and has not created la
large-scale production. Georgia simply has nothing to offer America [14].
How does this differ from the approach of tsarist Russia, the Soviet Union, and the Russian Federation, for whom in the first place - the development of economic infrastructure, raising the standard of living and material well-being of the population!
However, who cares about it in modern Georgia?
There, are gaining momentum the preparations for the next presidential elections, which are scheduled for autumn,. Although several years ago a package of changes was adopted in Georgian legislation that reduces the authority of the head of state in favor of the prime minister, the president continues to play a significant role in Georgian politics due to the inertia of thinking.
Therefore, the prospects for the further development of Georgia are largely connected with the name of the future president.
Will be remained the current destructive domestic and foreign policy on the one-sided orientation towards the EU and NATO that has led to a reduction in the population, a

[4] See note to footnote "2".
[5] Table "Population at the beginning of the year 2007 - 2017" (in English) on the website of the State Statistical Committee of Georgia. Access mode:
[6] Dmitry Alexandrov's article "Georgia sent a delegation to the EU to save the visa-free regime" in the business newspaper "Vzglyad", access mode:
[7] Andrei Nikolayev's article "The EU advises Georgians to look for another" safe haven "for Rosbalt. Access mode:
[8] The article "Georgia states that the EU will not abolish the visa-free regime" on the Eadaily website. Access mode:
[9] See note to footnote "1"
[10] The article "Nino Burjanadze: there is no place for Georgia in NATO " on RIA-Novosti / Russia today. Access mode:
[11] The article "The US is trying to draw Georgia into the war with Russia - Bagaturia" on the Eurasia Daily news agency. Access mode:
[12] Article by Georgy Kobaladze "Representatives of the Georgian intelligentsia published an appeal to the West" on the website of Radio Liberty. Access mode:
[13] The article "The President of Georgia discussed with the Swedish Minister of Defense the actions of Russia" on the website of IA "Regnum". Access mode:
[14] Article "NATO membership for Georgia: for the benefit of the United States and Europe" on the website "Balalaika24".
Access mode:
decline in production, economic stagnation, deterioration of relations with some neighbors and hypertrophied dependence on others, or there is reason to hope for a revolutionary rethinking of the path, about the desirability of which for the interests of Georgia, we wrote earlier?

Inal Pliev, International expert of IA "Res"


[1] The article "NDI- ისდაკვეთითჩატარებულისაზოგადოებრივიაზრისკვლევა" in the Civil Georgia news agency (in Georgian). Access mode:

[2] The article "Georgia marked a visa-free regime by dance at the airport in Prague" in the electronic online information publication "Nowadays ". Access mode:

[3] Article "Visa-free regime with many" But "on the website of the radio station" Echo of the Caucasus ". Access mode:

Инал Плиев, международный эксперт ИА «Рес»
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