Georgian former PM Zurab Nogaideli’s Movement for Fair Georgia and Russia’s ruling party, United Russia, signed a cooperation agreement in Moscow on February 9.
“This agreement envisages launch of partnership and consultations, exchange of information and experience between the two parties,” Boris Gryzlov, chairman of Russia’s ruling party and speaker of State Duma said after the signing ceremony.
“Signing of this agreement between our parties is a significant, historic [event], which lays the foundation for tomorrow, when Georgian-Russian relations will start gradually improving, when enmity will be changed with partnership,” Zurab Nogaideli said.
“Many Georgian politicians have followed our path and started to make statements that it is time to restore [ties] with Russia and it is time to launch dialogue; many political leaders [in Georgia] are already ready for that,” Nogaideli added.
Some opposition parties, in particular Conservative Party and Party of People, which are partners with Movement for Fair Georgia in organizing opposition’s preliminary elections, or primaries, ahead of the local elections, in overall welcome Nogaideli’s decision saying that dialogue is needed with Russia.
But some opposition parties have criticized Nogaideli’s contacts with the Russian leadership and some of the opposition politicians even say that the Georgian authorities were in fact benefiting from such decision of Nogaideli, redirecting political debates ahead of local elections from key internal issues.
Senior lawmakers from the ruling party condemned on February 9 Nogaideli’s decision to sign cooperation treaty with Russia’s ruling party and said Nogaideli was “a traitor.”
And Temur Iakobashvili, the Georgian state minister for reintegration, said by striking this agreement Russia’s ruling party established “its branch in Georgia”.