Transparency International Georgia said the Georgian embassy in Washington was sending out emails to U.S.-based Georgia watchers and analysts in which a Georgian diplomat “tries to discredit” Bidzina Ivanishvili and his opposition coalition Georgian Dream.
“We think that such actions represent use of state resources in favor of the ruling party,” the Tbilisi-based watchdog group said on July 27. “Using diplomatic service for the purpose of lobbying in favor of one party and for discrediting political rivals is inadmissible and such a step fully contradicts practice of a democratic country.”
TI Georgia made public two emails, which the watchdog group said was provided by one of the recipients of these emails. One email, purportedly sent by a second secretary at the Georgian embassy in the U.S., contains an English translation of an editorial from Asaval-Dasavali, the Georgian newspaper once highly praised by Ivanishvili, which slams outgoing U.S. ambassador and another email, also sent by the same diplomat, contains quotes of Gogi Topadze, one of Ivanishvili’s political partners, in which he criticizes Georgia’s NATO aspirations.
TI Georgia said that apart of representing misuse of administrative resources, this action was also a violation of Georgia’s law on diplomatic service, which obliges a diplomat to be politically neutral while in foreign service; the same law bans diplomat to be engaged in politics and to carry out “activities/propaganda in favor or against of any political party, organization, union.”
TI Georgia called on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to study this case and to take appropriate measures and to prevent “politicization of diplomatic service.”
The watchdog group also urged the Inter-Agency Task Force for Free and Fair Elections (IATF) at the National Security Council to react on this case and to issue a recommendation calling for stopping such practice.