The Statement by MPs Sozar Subari, Dimitri Khundadze and Mikheil Kavelashvili
Today, we would like to once again elucidate our vision on the developments:
EU Candidate Status:
First of all, let us start with the EU candidacy, which was absolutely artificially shoved into the national agenda. Initially, we were made to, in an expedited manner, submit the Application and the same expedited manner was used by them to refuse us the candidacy. Now, the EU has set totally unprecedented and confusing term and within the 6 months, we are asked to fulfill all 12 paragraphs established by the European Commission. The pressure around this term is being additionally aggravated by the statements of the Ambassadors and MEPs they make on a daily basis, which is also an unapplied practice for the EU. We would somehow explain the pressure and deadline be the EU membership date dependent on the reception of the candidacy. For instance, the Balkan practice shows that when the European country receives the candidacy in a standard situation, it gives the country a chance to access the EU in about 15 years. However, the Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova case is far from standard. The status of candidacy is granted not because a respective country is contextually ready for the candidacy but in an expedited manner, based on the political grounds.
As you may know, the ruling party cherished a certain EU membership plan we have submitted within our Electoral Program 2 years ago. The Government should, within the term of 2 years, ensure the fulfillment of the Association Agreement commitments with at least 70%, submit the Membership Application on this basis in 2024. In line with the standard practice, Georgia in this case would receive the candidacy in about 2 years and also in line with the standard practice, if successfully performing, would become a member state in 12-15 years, as of 2040.
It is evident on the example of the most successful candidate states – Montenegro and Serbia. Both countries received the candidacy within 2 years upon the submission of the Application (in 2010 and 2012) and if the countries succeed in adhering to the plan, they will become the EU members in 2024, which means 14 years in the pending regime for Montenegro, and 12 for Serbia. Even under the conditions, when the candidacy is granted with the political motives instead of the fulfilled Association Agreement commitments, naturally, the interval between the candidacy and the membership of 12-14 years becomes conditional. That’s why the European politicians urge in case of Ukraine that Ukraine will become an EU member state in 2050 – in 28 years instead of 14.
We believe that the Government will do all in its power within 6 upcoming years for the candidacy, though no one can explain what the accelerated receipt of the candidacy will give in practical terms. Hence, the turmoil around this issue is as well artificial.
Correspondingly, the establishment of the 6-month term has the only logical explanation – someone wants to generate turmoil around this issue and spark the public emotions to realize the revolutionary scenario, throw the Georgian Dream from the authority and replace it with the National Movement. This was the scenario discussed in Bakuriani as openly stated by the party leaders themselves.
Let us reiterate that the candidacy and the 6-month term are also the parts of this revolutionary scenario discussed in Bakuriani. We are in no way going to receive the candidacy in 6 months, which according to the calculations of certain forces, shall trigger a new sparkle and start a second front in Georgia.
One of the paragraphs in the European Commission Document concerns de-oligarchization. In this regard, the National Movement and their international friends arrogantly point fingers at Bidzina Ivanishvili and even wrote his name in the Resolution of the European Parliament. It is crystal clear that by applying the de-oligarchization reservation, the campaign against Bidzina Ivanishvili will be further extended despite that none of the evidence pieces of his oligarchy has ever been provided by anyone.
In classic terms, an oligarch is a person possessing vast financial resources and using them to influence the politics and media for his/her personal interests.
The fact is that Bidzina Ivanishvili meets only the first element of this explanation. As to his influence on politics, other than he was on the official positions, none of the facts of his interference in politics exists.
The same was with Giorgi Kvirikashvili, which as we believe, he will gladly confirm. When upon the resignation of Giorgi Kvirikashvili, he had a principal conversation with Bidzina Ivanishvili, both numerously confirmed to the Majority that within the period of the resignation of Bidzina Ivanishvili from the politics and his return to the position of the Chair of the Party, no communication on political issues has taken place. The same is with yet another former Prime Minister Gakharia. Gakharia publicly confirmed that he had no communication with Bidzina Ivanishvili after Bidzina Ivanishvili resigned from the politics. Moreover, Gakharia also confirmed that Ivanishvili has not even interfered in his decisions when occupying the position of the Party Chair despite that he held all legal and political rights.
Since he resigned, Bidzina Ivanishvili made the only public statement when in response to the speculations, explaining the step taken by Gakharia. In no other case ever since he had a direct or indirect attempt to influence the public position.
As we already mentioned, Ivanishvili never intervened in the activity of either Kvirikashvili or Gakharia. However, the society may have a theoretical doubt about his communication with the third Prime Minister, Irakli Garibashvili and the incumbent Chair of the Party, Irakli Kobakhidze. Despite that both persons refuse to communicate with Ivanishvili, the society may still have an abstract doubt.
Even if we theoretically consider that Ivanishvili from time to time provides the team leaders with advice, it is a normal behavior in politics and does not mean informal governance. For instance, the world buzzes that the Administration of President Biden was almost totally composed by Barack Obama, however, no one has ever criticized Obama for this.
When Ivanishvili promises not to intervene in politics, he always keeps his word. Today, he is neither engaged in the political processes nor finances the media. Besides, you all well know that Ivanishvili does not conduct his business in Georgia. All the projects he realizes in the country are the expression of the social charity and you know it is true since if it is not, the facts would be revealed. Ivanishvili respects and adheres to the rules and laws. Hence, he cannot be considered an oligarch. If anyone is to carry this label in Georgia, it’s the opposition leaders – Saakashvili, Kezerashvili, Kharadze and Japaridze. Mikheil Saakashvili, within the period upon the rejection of the Georgian passport up to the present, is the informal leader of the National Movement and intervenes in the politics on a daily basis, which he never tries to refuse by the way. He even converted his cell into the party office to host his party comrades. Moreover, he does not even abstain from making revolutionary statements from the prison. And everyone knows that he has an abundance of the robbed and stolen funds, the part of which he spends on party media. Correspondingly, he meets all the criteria of being an oligarch. The same is with Kezerashvili, who upon his resignation from the position of the Defense Minister acquired a company with the circulation of one billion USD and finances the opposition and its media with millions of dollars yearly. Khazaradze and Japaridze can also be considered classic examples of oligarchs. During the preceding Government, they were directly engaged in the culpable scheme of Saakashvili and were racketing the business. The Georgian Dream, upon the assumption of the authority, supported their business the same way as other businessmen. Though, the opposition opted to forget the bona fide ways and tried to remain the oligarchs. Besides, as you may know, unlike the Saakashvili Government, the Georgian Dream never prevented anyone from financing the politics. Khazaradze and Japaridze used this opportunity and started to openly fund the media of their old partners – the National Movement, starting from Channel I and Rustavi 2 when it was still under the ownership of the National Movement. Besides, they used to fund the rallies of the oppositions and even were providing them with the tents. Later, when the National Bank informed the Prosecutor’s Office about their once committed crimes, concerning the fraudulent appropriation of 17 ml. GEL, set up a political party in defense and thus, legalized their political ambitions. We remind the society that the crimes committed by Khazaradze and Japaridze are all unleashed – they issued the credit of millions of GEL to their friend Chuta Tsereteli and re-registered on their name the same day so that no one served the credit; the sum has been transferred to the offshore accounts and completely deduced; and it shall be no surprise that such dishonest persons cherish the desire to be the oligarchs.
To sum up, according to the objective criterion, Ivanishvili is not considered an oligarch, while Saakashvili, Kezerashvili, Khazaradze and Japaridze are labeled with this tag. However, despite the truth and revealed facts, society will soon realize that the de-oligarchization campaign will start by the organizers of the Bakuriani meeting.
The Foreign Minister of Hungary gave a perfect description that the polarization is an ordinary practice in politics and the exaggeration of the polarization in Georgia is artificial. If the EU considers depolarization in a serious manner, they would not refuse our candidacy. The fact is that the decision of the European Council facilitates not depolarization but polarization. Naturally, it was not a puzzle at all. It would be naïve to think that it was a miscalculation. Moreover, it was not only properly calculated but the basic goal of non-granting the candidacy was to spark the polarization and enact the Bakuriani scenario.
The concept of depolarization is absurd to the extent that allows various interpretations. It can already be predicted how absurd the requirement would be connected to depolarization. For instance, they have already tried to link the electoral threshold to depolarization, which has absolutely nothing in common with depolarization and candidacy. However, the basic request linked to the depolarization will be the release of Saakashvili and Gvaramia. Salome Zourabichvili, who has been dragged by certain forces into the opposition niche, will finally sign the release of these two criminals. Similar to the period when we were forced to release Ugulava, Okruashvili, Melia and Rurua, they would try to use the same methods for Saakashvili and Gvaramia with the same goal – a new incentive to the revolutionary scenario and the upturn of the Government, which shall be followed by the second “glorious” war of Saakashvili.
The artificial nature of the turmoil around Saakashvili is even evidenced in the case of the ex-President of Moldova. Three instances of the Georgian Court have recognized Saakashvili guilty of the crimes well known by the society. While Moldova’s incumbent Government, after the submission of the application for candidacy, imposed the preliminary detention on the fifth President of the country, Igor Dodon on the fact of delegation of a plastic bag by another politician without a single spoken word. It reveals the double standard, which was discussed by the Foreign Minister of Hungary a couple of days ago. Dodon was a pro-Russian President but for the supremacy of justice, it values nothing.
Informal sanctions of Ivanishvili:
As you may know, the war in Ukraine started on February 24, while informal sanctions against Ivanishvili, as stated by his lawyer, were enacted on March 4. The Swiss Bank acts in an unimaginable manner and refuses to transfer the amount appurtenant to Ivanishvili for months. It would also be naïve to believe that the Bank damages its own reputation without political pressure. It means that the candidacy is used for the pressure on the Government, and the informal sanctions are used for the pressure on Ivanishvili. These forces tried to make the sanctions against Ivanishvili official through the Resolution of the European Parliament, though after facing the reaction of the society, found their sanctions counter-productive and stepped back. In another case, who managed to coordinate 308 MEPs, he/she would find it easy to influence the European Commission and the European Council.
So, the logical question is – what do they want of Ivanishvili? This person abstains from intervening the politics and even if he would, it would bring no prejudice and they are aware of it. The only logical interest remaining in the two versions that these forces may be driven by towards Ivanishvili is whether they want Ivanishvili to forcefully bring back to the politics to make him impose the sanctions on Russia and start the second front in Georgia, or they want to make him issue these directions to the team leaders. You all know that the whole team and its leaders highly respect Ivanishvili. Ivanishvili is not only a founder of the Georgian Dream but a designated generous person and besides, in 2012, he sacrificed himself for the interests of the country and deprived the authority of the culpable regime. That’s why he is highly supported and respected by society and his team. Hence, he possesses the resources to, if it is his will, return to politics or have an essential influence on the decisions of the team.
Certain forces realize that Garibashvili, Kobakhidze and a whole team keep protecting the positions by disagreeing with the sanctions and the war. In such a moment, Ivanishvili is the only person able to change their mind and re-direct the processes.
We do not hold information but we are still sure that these forces would certainly discuss it with Ivanishvili; even the lawyer of Ivanishvili made some indications stating that Ivanishvili can explain the reason for the informal sanctions and he will one day. We intend to wait for the elucidations by Ivanishvili and meanwhile, will abstain from additional interpretations. As the lawyer of Ivanishvili noted two days ago, the unofficial sanctions against Ivanishvili are still valid, impeding him to use his bank accounts. We can only imagine the pressure that Ivanishvili is through by the forces, which simultaneously manage to coordinate the European structures and the Swiss Bank. However, we believe that despite the immense pressure, Ivanishvili will never sacrifice Georgia for the war.
Attitude towards the Western Structures:
The participants of the Bakuriani meeting try to interpret our answers to the Western politicians as the anti-Western rhetoric. So, we intend to once again clearly elucidate that our will and goal are to ensure the uninterrupted aspiration of Georgia to Europe. That’s why we intend to protect the dignity of our country and our people every time it is put to damage. The insult shall be responded to not by the attack on the Western partners but by our obligation to our country and our dignity. When a European person shows non-European behavior, he/she is the reason for the damage to Europe and its interests. Correspondingly, our response to injustice means the protection of our strategic partner, Europe and the European way of Georgia.