Defence Minister on EP resolution: if Georgia punished for getting rid of “totalitarian, sadist” regime, it’s a move against people

Georgian Defence Minister on Thursday reacted to the recent resolution of the European Parliament on the implementation of the Association Agreement between Georgia and the European Union. Photo: Defence Ministry press office, 15 Dec 2022 - 12:21, Tbilisi,Georgia

If Georgia has to be punished for getting rid of a “totalitarian and sadist” regime [of the 2004-2012 United National Movement Government], it would be a decision against the people of the country, Georgian Defence Minister Juansher Burchuladze on Thursday said in response to a recent resolution of the European Parliament. 

The resolution, adopted on Wednesday, on the implementation of the Association Agreement between Georgia and the European Union, called for the release of the imprisoned former President Mikheil Saakashvili on medical grounds and of the head of the opposition-minded Mtavari TV channel Nika Gvaramia. 

The document also cited the founder of the ruling Georgian Dream party and former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili as an “oligarch” and called for sanctions on the former official and “all those who facilitate and are responsible for the deterioration of the democratic political process, if it is proven that Georgia helps Russia to avoid international sanctions” for the latter’s invasion of Ukraine.

The claims that Ivanishvili is an oligarch and Saakashvili and Gvaramia should be released is a narrative against the majority of Georgian citizens and this must not happen”, the Minister said, urging the bloc not to make decisions “against the will of the Georgian people”.  

The annual report, which was approved with the support of 430 MEPs, with 52 voting against and 126 abstaining, also called on all political parties in Georgia to refrain from “divisive and aggressive” rhetoric and unite their forces in order not to jeopardise the country’s accession to the European Union. 

  • Saakashvili, a citizen of Ukraine, was arrested in Tbilisi in October 2021 on his clandestine return to Georgia ahead of municipal elections.
  • The former president is serving a six-year term for abuse of power in two separate cases stemming back to his time in office, while three other cases are pending.
  • Gvaramia was convicted in May for abuse of power charges during his time at the helm of Rustavi 2 TV in cases dating back to 2015 and 2019.