A Russian lawmaker taking the podium in Georgia’s parliament on June 20 caused thousands of angry Georgians to take the streets, accusing the ruling party of collaborating with archenemy Russia.
Tensions flared when Sergey Gavrilov, a member of Russia’s Duma, sat in the parliamentary speaker’s chair to address an international gathering of lawmakers from Orthodox Christian countries – the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy (IAO) – who are meeting this week in Tbilisi. During a break, members of Georgia’s main opposition parties marched in and occupied the speakers’ podium.
“Where is Gavrilov? Where is the occupier? Show him to me,” shouted Elene Khoshtaria, member of the European Georgia Party, as she bounded into the parliamentary hall draped in the Georgian national flag. She walked up to the podium and tore Gavrilov’s speech to pieces.
“Today, we, the members of parliament, will defend the parliamentary hall from the Russian occupiers,” said Salome Samadashvili, member of the United National Movement, as she stood next to Khoshtaria. “This meeting will not continue until the Russian delegation leaves this chamber,” added Irma Nadirashvili, also of the of the United National Movement.
Since the 2008 war with Russia and Moscow’s recognition of breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Tbilisi views Russia as an occupier. Gavrilov voted for Russia to recognize the territories as independent.
Earlier in the day, Ukraine’s ambassador to Georgia, Ihor Dolhov, walked out of another IAO meeting when Gavrilov, the IAO president, began his address. “I don’t want to listen to the Russian Federation, which occupied Georgian and Ukrainian territories,” Dolhov said.
Georgian opposition groups are accusing the ruling Georgian Dream party of selling out to Moscow by inviting the IAO to hold its annual meeting in Tbilisi. “The Georgian Dream brought in the occupiers and put them in the parliamentary speaker’s seat,” Khoshtaria said. “By doing this, the Georgian Dream slapped all of Georgia’s history in the face.”
Some Georgian Dream members tried to calm tensions by saying that they were also disturbed to see a Russian deputy preside over a meeting inside Georgia’s parliament. “Russia is a country that occupies 20 percent of our territory and it was disturbing to see a representative of that country’s parliament in the chair of the Georgian parliamentary speaker,” said Speaker Irakli Kobakhidze.
Bidzina Ivanishvili, the Georgian Dream chairman, also said that it was unacceptable to have a Russian government representative preside over “any forum in the Georgian parliament.” Zakaria Kutsnashvili, the Georgian Dream member who organized the meeting, apologized. But still the protests ballooned.
Thousands blocked the main avenue outside parliament by 7 p.m., while protestors also reportedly gathered in other cities. Many called Ivanishvili and his entourage traitors and demanded they step down. “Do you really believe that they committed treason by accident?” said Manana Nachkebia of the New Rights Party. “Step by step, using soft power, they [the Georgian Dream] want us to accept that diplomatic relations with Russia can be restored, that it is possible to have friendship with Russia, it is possible that Russia and Georgia are back in together […] but their calculations were wrong.”
Booed by protesters, Gavrilov left the country and warned that Georgia will face consequences for the incident.
During his visit from 21 to 23 January, the OSCE Special Representative for the Transdniestrian Settlement Process Ambassador Thomas Mayr-Harting will hold talks with high-level Moldovan officials and the political leadership in Tiraspol.( ) Read all
The past few days have been witness, to some important statements made in the context of the Joint Comprehensive Program for Action (JCPOA) — also referred to as the Iran Nuclear deal. US allies, including the UK and some EU member states do not seem to be in agreement with the US...( ) Read all
When Russians woke up on Wednesday morning, most had likely never heard of Mikhail Mishustin, the head of the country’s tax service. But by the time they went to bed that night, Mishustin had been named as Russia’s new prime minister after a day that included a flurry of...( ) Read all
Washington (CNN)Days after President Donald Trump claimed the US killed Iran's top military general because he was targeting four American embassies, two of the President's top national security officials are declining to provide evidence of the intelligence used to justify the US drone...( ) Read all
The Russian military intervention in the Syrian civil war has strengthened the anti-Russian ideological wave of the al-Qaeda-aligned Central Asian and North Caucasian Salafi-Jihadi groups fighting alongside the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) against the Bashar al-Assad regime. After the...( ) Read all
The effects of globalisation are radically challenging our perception of the world. In order to respond effectively to current challenges, we must change our mindset, open up to the world, consider those around us and create a new global governance (Brown 2019; Foucher 2019).( ) Read all
Pro-Kremlin media have recently started to express sympathy for Fascism. This is not entirely new: The Web Site News Front, based in illegally annexed Crimea, has been praising Hitler and Nazism; pro-Kremlin Russia Insider is not only attempting to whitewash Nazism, but...( ) Read all
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Libyan peace talks will be held in Berlin, as the internationally-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) and Libyan National Army (LNA) reached a ceasefire upon Turkey and Russia’s initiative. During a joint press conference with Russian...( ) Read all
Rio judge’s ruling follows complaint that the ‘honour of millions of Catholics’ was hurt by The First Temptation of Christ. The First Temptation of Christ depicts Jesus returning home on his 30th birthday and implies he is gay. Photograph: Netflix Brazil/AFP via...( ) Read all
Strasbourg court declares Russia guilty of violating human rights in the breakaway Moldovan region that it de facto controls, over the case of a young man accused of treason and jailed for espionage in 2011.( ) Read all
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is due to travel to Moscow Saturday for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The meeting will likely focus on the Iran crisis, with both Germany and Russia calling for de-escalation following the U.S. targeted killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani and...( ) Read all
Amidst an environment of a tense standoff between Iran and the US since the last couple of months, the United States assassinated high-ranking Iranian military and intelligence official Qasem Soleimani in a drone strike at Baghdad International Airport on Friday morning along with several...( ) Read all
Ukrainian passenger jet probably crashed after being hit by a Russian-made Tor-M1 missile over Parand and crashed in the town of Khalaj Abad. Ukrainian International Airlines flight PS752, en route from Tehran to Kyiv, with 176 people on board has crashed in Iran just minutes after take-off...( ) Read all
Senior administration officials have begun drafting sanctions against Iraq after President Trump publicly threatened the country with economic penalties if it proceeded to expel U.S. troops, according to three people briefed on the planning.( ) Read all
An explosive leak of tens of thousands of documents from the defunct data firm Cambridge Analytica is set to expose the inner workings of the company that collapsed after the Observer revealed it had misappropriated 87 million Facebook profiles.( ) Read all
Charred fragments found in 170,000-year-old ashes in a cave in southern Africa are the earliest roasted root vegetables yet found. The finding suggest the real “paleo diet” included lots of roasted vegetables rich in carbohydrates, similar to modern potatoes.( ) Read all
A thaw is coming early this Russian winter. Inbound retail and technology investments are hints of improvement in the business climate, and fresh sanctions fears have eased off. But these bright spots won’t save the G20 country from economic stagnation in 2020.( ) Read all
Russia and the United States have had another year of rocky relations that have included more sanctions, heavy rhetoric, and a shortage of constructive dialogue to bring the two countries together. 2020 will likely be a mixed bag of steps forward and stagnation that closely resembles the past...( ) Read all
Over the recent years, one can find very few ideas that have had a sudden resurgence in the world as populism. Charismatic leaders, upstart political parties and attractive propaganda have upset the world order to win power in what previously appeared to be stable democracies.( ) Read all
Chloe Haines also scratched a crew member who tried to stop her opening the door mid-flight. A woman has admitted trying to open an aeroplane door mid-flight prompting two fighter jets to be scrambled. Chloe Haines, 26, of High Wycombe, also scratched a crew member who tried to stop her...( ) Read all