Allegations made publicly today against one of our assistance projects are false and fundamentally mischaracterize the goals of our assistance to Georgia. USAID has been supporting the Georgian people since 1992. As always, our assistance is transparent, and we welcome any opportunities to discuss any concerns the government may have, – the US Embassy says in a statement.
According to the Embassy, despite these unwarranted attacks, they will continue to support Georgian organizations who support people to secure the future they determine and deserve and to secure their fundamental rights guaranteed by the Georgian constitution.
“The right of citizens to freely voice their concerns and aspirations is foundational to any democracy and is a value shared by both of our countries. USAID has collaborated with CANVAS for more than two years to help people to speak up for the issues that matter to their families and communities. We have partnered with CANVAS to deliver training to mothers advocating for better cancer treatments for children, and to people advocating for the rights of elderly citizens in their communities.
“Despite these unwarranted attacks, we will continue to support Georgian organizations who support people to secure the future they determine and deserve and to secure their fundamental rights guaranteed by the Georgian constitution,” reads the statement.
The State Security Service on Monday released information about the investigative action conducted against the organization “Canvas” and made public “part of the evidence”.
According to SSG, on September 25, 2023, at the invitation of the East-West Management Institute of the USAID program, Serbian citizens Sinisa Sikman, Jelena Stoisic and Slobodan Jinovic arrived in Georgia. According to SSG, these persons are connected with the revolutionary events in Georgia of 2003, and in different years also had connections with similar process in Serbia, Ukraine and other states.
According to SSG, they were actively teaching methods of creating protest drives and tactics of conducting violent actions. As SSG says, they represent the management link of the “Canvas” organization, and also Sinisa Sikman and Slobodan Jinovic are former members of the “Otpor” organization, which was an analog of the Georgian organization “Kmara” in Serbia.
According to the SSG, the declared reason for the arrival of the mentioned persons in Georgia was to conduct trainings for groups working in the field of culture in matters of “strategic non-violent fight”, but the investigation established that this was not the only purpose of their arrival in Georgia. In particular, the real purpose of the visit was to establish communication and conduct trainings with those young people and influential non-governmental organizations, which should become the core of destructive and illegal actions planned in Georgia in October-December of this year.
“We will, of course, need to get clarifications, to why USAID funded such training, the direct purpose of which was to prepare for a revolution in Georgia – we will not allow either a revolution or a second front,” – this is how Georgian Dream chairman Irakli Kobakhidze responded SSG statement regarding the investigative action against the “Canvas” organization.
Kobakhidze claimed the scenario is unrest, revolution and the final goal – the second front, which has not been achieved since 2022, when the war in Ukraine began.
According to Kobakhidze, it seems that this goal has not slowed down yet.