In his statement today, Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili called on the Russian Federation to take “reasonable” steps for bringing the Georgian-Russian relations out of “a vicious circle,” and reiterated his readiness for “direct dialogue” with Sokhumi and Tskhinvali.
Kvirikashvili’s statement comes a week after the parliamentary majority and minority groups submitted draft resolutions condemning the death of a Georgian citizen, Archil Tatunashvili, while in custody of the Russian-backed Tskhinvali authorities on February 22.
PM Kvirikashvili’s remarks met mixed assessments from opposition MPs. Below is a compilation of some of the reactions from Georgian politicians.
MP Salome Samadashvili, United National Movement: “PM Kvirikashvili, who has no political will of his own and voices the messages of a man who holds real power in the country, Bidzina Ivanishvili, stated today that even the ruling party resolution was unacceptable. This [move] reflects Ivanishvili’s foreign policy agenda, which envisions that Georgia should not create problems on the international arena, that Georgia should not be present on the international agenda, that Georgia should always bow its head to Russia, and that the country should never try to defend its political interests loudly and effectively. It is a slow process of Georgia’s capitulation.”
MP Giorgi Kandelaki, European Georgia: “Kvirikashvili’s appeal is extremely alarming: it practically erases the notion of occupation. If we say that Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region are occupied and the occupation force exercises “effective control” over the structures existing there, any talks about “a direct dialogue” is a legitimization of the Russian narrative, that Russia is not a party to the conflict. It is the same as the Ukrainian President saying direct dialogue should be launched with the republics of Donetsk and Lugansk.”
MP Irma Inashvili, Alliance of Patriots: “In these circumstances, the Prime Minister’s appeal to the authorities of the Russian Federation is a very important political move and a statement with absolutely concrete messages. Everyone who is criticizing Kvirikashvili for the appeal, is an enemy of our country. In reality, these people are not interested either in the transfer of Archil Tatunashvili’s body, or maintaining stability in the country and resolving the relations with Sokhumi and Tskhinvali. It was exactly this thinking that had brought about the tragedies of Sokhumi and Tskhinvali, and it was exactly these people who surrendered Kodori (Kodori gorge in Abkhazia) and Akhalgori (in Tskhinvali Region). Therefore, every sensible individual, be it a political party leader, or an engineer and a doctor, should understand that Kvirikashvili’s appeal (with respect to protecting our statehood) can be game-changing and should become game-changing.”