Kakha Kaladze on the EU: "Our so-called friends are trying to change the government."
Kaladze on EU
Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze said on air of Imedi TV that the so-called friends of Georgia are trying to somehow change the government of the country. According to Kaladze, he is well acquainted with European values, “but when they tell you that you should be a slave, it is unacceptable.”
What else he had to say:
● “The government vows that everything will be done to obtain [EU candidate] status. But I, again, am not 100% sure that there will be a positive decision on the status, because it is being used as a political weapon.”
● “My whole past life is connected with Europe, all my successes are connected with Europe. I lived in one of the best cities in Europe and I know perfectly well what European values are, I know very well how much civilization European development can bring. But when they tell you that you should be a slave, this is categorically unacceptable. We must walk with our heads held high, we must advance toward Europe, and we must do everything for our country to become a member of the family called the European Union.”
● “Has talk of a second front slowed down, disappeared? Blessed people, what have you done with this Georgia, what do you want from this country? You are more developed countries than we are, you have a stronger economy than ours, more people live in your countries than we do. What do you want from this country?”
● “We have kept the peace, the country is developing, we have economic growth, we are striving for Europe, why, why should there be tension, war, why should there be overpopulated cities, refugees. Do we want this? That’s the reality.”
● “Look, when these clashes began — Molotov cocktails, stones, a special forces group retreated and immediately returned, the same thing continued. All this was done on purpose to make unrest and confrontations worse. We will not give anyone the opportunity to manipulate the country.”
● “Freedom of speech and expression is protected in this country – you can talk about certain issues, protest in one form or another, but you must do this within the law. If someone dares to organize some kind of conflict, bloodshed, revolution, this will be followed by the most stringent response, of course within the framework of the law.”
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Kakha Kaladze was the third high-ranking official who, after the March 7-9 protests, expressed anti-Western statements and connected the protesting youth with various “reactionary” political groups.
First the Prime Minister of Georgia, Irakli Garibashvili, in an extensive interview with the government’s Imedi TV channel about the events of March 7-9, stated that “it is possible that the organizers of the action would have left some young people themselves” in order to achieve their goals. According to him, “the European Parliament better look after itself, because 100 MEPs are involved in a corruption scandal.”
“To brainwash the youth the Franklin Club organization was created, which includes “reactionary nationalists” (Levan Ramishvili, Gia Nodia), as well as “other extremist opposition leaders” (Zurab Japaridze, Giorgi Mshvenieradze, Giorgi Meladze), who give lectures to students and high school students. The club is supported by the American organization Atlas Network, which organizes violent and non-violent protests around the world,” Garibashvili said.
After that the chairman of the ruling party, Irakli Kobakhidze, held a briefing in which he repeated the words of Garibashvili and said the National Movement and the “Global War Party” were behind the protesters, the goal of which was to forcibly overthrow the government and drag Georgia into war.
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On March 7, the bill “On Transparency of Foreign Influence” was adopted by the parliament in the first reading by 76 votes against 13.
Then, according to the procedure, both bills were sent to the Venice Commission.
The process was accompanied by rallies on Rustaveli Avenue in Tbilisi. After the adoption of the bill in the first reading, the protest swelled to many thousands. Authorities twice dispersed tens of thousands of people with tear gas and water cannons.
All organizations and politicians, both in Georgia and abroad, call this bill a Russian model and say that its adoption will be a huge obstacle for the country on its way to the European Union.
Then on March 9, the ruling party said it was withdrawing the bill. On March 10, during the second reading in Parliament, the majority voted to reject it. This time 35 deputies voted against, one supported.
One of the authors of the bill, Dmitry Khundadze, said that by not adopting this law, Georgian society “missed an opportunity.”