The messenger logo

Georgian PM's approach to Russia takes different path

By Messenger Staff
Thursday, April 25
The appearance of Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili at the PACE meeting caused controversial assessments among Georgian politicians. The former governing United National Movement (UNM)– now in the opposition– criticized Ivanishvili, whereas the members of the Georgian Dream coalition evaluated the PM’s speech and answers to the questions as very successful.

Skeptics criticized Ivanishvili for his attitude towards the Russian Federation, whereas his supporters think that Ivanishvili’s attitude towards Russia was diplomatically correct, but also principled.

Ivanishvili meanwhile, highlighted that Georgia’s new leadership is facing a serious challenge in conducting a dialogue with Russia. However, opponents request that they define the margin or distinction between the correctness and the principled position.

It has become evident that Ivanishvili has avoided direct criticism of Russian President Vladimir Putin, but kept being principled in stating that Russia has occupied Georgian territories. The Georgian PM also mentioned that there are red lines for both – Georgia and Russia, which they are not going to violate.

Although it is evident that the Georgian red line embodies the recovery of the lost territories and their integration, for Russia it is the violation of Georgian territorial integrity.

From the very beginning of his political career, Ivanishvili has been facing serious challenges because he has to match Georgia’s European orientation with the normalization of relations with Russia. Moreover, he has to harmonize NATO claims of Georgia with the Russian position, which is against Georgia’s integration to NATO.

UNM members are criticizing the PM because he did not use the vocabulary of blaming and accusing Russia in ethnic cleansing of the Georgian population and other atrocities; whereas, Ivanishvili wants to lead discussions with Russia in a civilized and constructive manner.

In this regard it should be remembered that a couple of weeks ago Ivanishvili touched upon the issue of reinvestigating certain aspects which preceded the Russian invasion into Georgia in August, 2008.

The UNM is against such an investigation calling it a betrayal of Georgian interests, while PM Ivanishvili thinks that the Georgian side should tell the truth.