Many political events unfolded during the week, kicking off with the presidents of Georgia and Poland, Salome Zurabishvili and Andrzej Duda, expressing solidarity with Ukraine.
Polish President Andrzej Duda, who was on a transit visit to Tbilisi on his way to Beijing, held a press conference together with President Zurabishvili, seeing the two expressing solidarity with Ukraine, stressing the need to de-escalate the situation, and thanking each other for the information exchanged.
President Zurabishvili said that “those aggressive actions and threats, cyber-attacks, excessive increase of military forces on the border with Ukraine or the intensification of forces on the Black Sea, are signs of the extent to which Russian policy has turned to provocation.”
“Georgia has a bit of a tragic experience with Russia – our joint consultations are very important,” President Duda noted.
Saakashvili Calls Out Bidzina
In Tbilisi, the trial of the third President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, is ongoing. This week, in response to Georgia’s noticeable lack of support voiced for Ukraine, Saakashvili sang the Ukrainian national anthem in the courtroom, and went on to address Bidzina Ivanishvili, “You made the wrong move betting on Putin’s victory.” He went on to question the fact that Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili and Minister of Foreign Affairs Davit Zalkaliani contracted Coronavirus at a time when the situation in Ukraine was tense.
“Garibashvili got infected with Covid when Andrzej Duda was coming. He can talk to Salome Zurabishvili about the weather, but she doesn’t decide anything. He demanded a meeting with the Prime Minister, but Garibashvili disappeared, saying he was infected with Covid.
“Then, when the UK Foreign Minister was about to call, Zalkaliani contracted Covid. As if he could not speak while ill. Then they said ‘let’s talk at the deputy level,’ but all four were busy.
“In short, you completely failed in this situation,” Saakashvili told Ivanishvili, adding that Georgia is “completely alone against possible Russian aggression.”
The convicted ex-president left his trial early, having pleaded innocent and claiming that his verdict “has been decided in advance by the founder of the Georgian Dream, Bidzina Ivanishvili.”
Mid-week, the Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development, Natia Turnava, surprised the country by handing in her resignation.
“I want to change my field, try another. Of course, I remain a loyal member of our team,” Turnava said.
Turnava was replaced by former Minister of Agriculture, Levan Davitashvili. Otar Shamugia, Davitashvili’s former deputy, has been appointed as his replacement, nominated for the post by the Prime Minister of Georgia, Irakli Garibashvili.
“It is a great honor and responsibility for me to serve my country with a very strong team and contribute to the development of both the environment and agriculture,” Shamugia said.
A new Business Ombudsman
PM Irakli Garibashvili this week appointed Otar Danelia to the position of Business Ombudsman of Georgia.
Garibashvili met Danelia at the Government Administration and wished him success in his new capacity. He highlighted that support of the private sector is a priority for the national authorities, as facilitation of business is a prerequisite of economic growth and employment in the country.
He then gave specific instructions to the newly-appointed Business Ombudsman and noted that open cooperation with the private sector, few barriers and the least bureaucracy, are essential. The meeting also focused on the significance of greater ease of corporate access to public services.
Otar Danelia was formerly the First Deputy Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development.
France and Russia
In international news, President of France, Emmanuel Macron, met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.
There, Macron emphasized that the independence and sovereignty of Georgia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Moldova must be protected.
“We need processes based on transparency, de-escalation. We must build security by respecting the sovereignty and independence of states that are not members of the European Union or NATO but are located in the region. Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova are countries, the sovereignty and independence of which we must respect, as this is also part of our collective security,” Macron said after meeting with Putin.