Georgia should firmly stand with the West

Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine holds warning signs for a reshaped global security architecture and a shifting world order. The Western world has demonstrated an unprecedented display of unity in its support for Ukraine. Its support has not been limited to providing Ukraine with security and military assistance, but also taking steps to ensure that Russia pays a serious price for its unprovoked act of aggression.

Western political leaders and their representatives stand united in total unanimity in support of Ukraine’s stand-off against Russia’s unprovoked war. This ironclad demonstration of Western unity and resolve against Russia is a straightforward signal that it will no longer be business as usual with the Putin regime. A clear divide has emerged between the civilized world and Putin, with a handful of his proponents. The vast majority of the world has made a choice in favor of independence and unity of sovereign Ukraine. However, this is fight is far beyond Ukraine vs the evil—it is a battle for freedom, for unity of the Western world, and stability based on equality and order.

This choice has always been clear and intuitive for Georgia. Our country was one of the first victims of Russia’s aggression and expansionism, for which we paid a high price of Georgian lives. Along with this, now there is a historic opportunity for Georgia to realize a dear wish of many generations to become a full-fledged member of the Western world, as indicated in our Constitution. Therefore, there should be no second thought regarding the position of the country—we should unambiguously stand with the West. No other choice will ever be accepted by the Georgian society!  Unfortunately, the steps taken by the government, their obscure and inconsistent rhetoric, puts a question mark over Georgia as a reliable and loyal partner for the West.

In order for the strategic interests of Georgia to be clearly and fully stated and accomplished, we consider the following steps should be taken:

1. The ruling party should openly and unambiguously express its support for Ukraine, as well as to the steps taken by the West. The authorities must cease making statements or taking actions undermining Georgia’s international reputation. The government should clearly commit compliance and support to the international sanctions established by the West;

2. The Georgian Dream party must immediately stop intimidating and demoralizing Georgian people by the threat of war. This has been observed as a main propaganda line in the statements of the ruling party and some of their affiliates;

3. The Georgian Dream should cease the use of hate speech, stand above party interests and do the utmost possible to  decrease the polarization in the society;

4. The government should keep informing the public about the progress of the advocacy efforts on granting EU membership candidate status to Georgia;

5. An expanded meeting of the National Security Council should be held  with the participation of the President and opposition. This meeting should serve to inform the public of the specific challenges facing Georgia and the possible ways for their resolution;

6. A special meeting should be convened at the Parliament with the participation of  the parliamentary majority, opposition, representatives of the Government and invited experts. They should discuss and provide an assessment on the expected national impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and sanctions, as well as plan for and formulate a prospective policy response.

It is our firm belief that the Government should immediately follow the aforementioned steps in order to ensure a timely and effective response to the rising challenges, to avoid any mistakes with long-lasting implications and to achieve a secured position in a civilized world. We, the undersigned organizations, express our readiness to provide support in the fulfillment of the aforementioned steps.

  1. Transparency International Georgia (TI Georgia)
  2. International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED)
  3. Georgia’s Reforms Associates (GRASS)
  4. Open Society Foundation (OSGF)
  5. Center “Empathy”
  6. In Depth Reporting and Economic Analysis Center
  7. Georgian Democracy Initiative (GDI)
  8. Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI)
  9. Society and Banks
  10. Media Development Foundation (MDF)
  11. UN association of Georgia (UNAG)
  12. Green Alternative
  13. Economic Policy Research Center (EPRC)
  14. Institute for Democracy and Safe Development (IDSD)
  15. Europe Foundation
  16. Rights Georgia
  17. Civil Society Institute (CSI)
  18. Liberal Academy
  19. Atlantic Council of Georgia
  20. Human Rights Center
  21. Sapari
  22. Tolerance and Diversity Institute (TDI)