The messenger logo

Georgian Dream says CIS talk unfounded

By Messenger Staff
Thursday, January 31
Signals of alarm were recently sounded in the Georgian media concerning the statement made by Russian Foreign Ministry representative Mikhail Evdokimov, who said that talks had started regarding Georgia’s possible reintegration into the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

As this news spread, the oppositional United National Movement (UNM) predictably condemned this development, while the Georgian Dream administration denied the information altogether, announcing that it is absolutely opposed to Georgia's return to the CIS.

Evdokomov, who is the Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry Department for CIS countries, stated that Georgia had not been dismissed from CIS membership and that it parted ways on its own accord. Thus, if Georgia decides it wants to rejoin the collective of states, it is more than welcome to. He also mentioned that contact with Georgian representatives has started regarding this matter.

The 2013 CIS chairmanship belongs to Belarus. As such, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko's announcement that it is his priority to convince Georgia to rejoin the organization is not a shock. In fact, the desire of the CIS to have Georgia back is easy to understand, as this organization was an artificial amalgamation initially and losing a member was a serious blow to its reputation.

Immediately after this news was released, the UNM held a press conference where MP Goka Gabashvili labeled such a move as abandoning the country’s interests, even going so far as calling it a betrayal. He said if this was a false statement, they should react immediately and deny the allegations officially.

The UNM asked Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili to send an official note to the Russian Foreign Ministry regarding the spread of false information. Opposition members also started using this information to create an anti-Georgian Dream mood among the people. UNM representatives suggest that if the above mentioned statement about the CIS was true, it would definitely indicate that the Georgian Dream is dragging Georgia into Russia's direction.

Georgian Dream reacted immediately and adequately. Parliamentary Chairman Davit Usupashvili openly denied this possibility, stressing that if anyone wants to return to the CIS, they would have to do it without him. Minister for Reintegration Paata Zakareishvili said nobody has ever even touched upon such a possibility and suggested that these allegations carried a provocative character.

Tedo Japaridze, the Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman of Parliament, called these allegations “absurd.” Zurab Abashidze, Georgia's special envoy for Russian relations, also denied the news. He said during his meeting with the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin, that talk of the CIS was not mentioned at all. Abashidze promised to find out what Evdokimov’s motivation was to make such a statement.

Before the situation clears up one thing is evident: Russia desperately wants Georgia’s return to the CIS. However, it does not want to openly admit its desire. Perhaps this was Russia’s attempt to show this information as a reality. Needless to say, the truth will soon be revealed, though it’s hard to say where this came from in the first place.