Parliament Speaker calls ex-Pres. Saakashvili “only saboteur” as latter warns of Russian “subversive group”

Georgian Parliament Speaker Shalva Papuashvili on Monday responded to Saakashvili’s latest claims on an alleged subversive group. Photo: Shalva Papuashvili’s Facebook, 30 Oct 2023 - 18:05, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian Parliament Speaker Shalva Papuashvili on Monday called the imprisoned former President Mikheil Saakashvili the “only saboteur” as the latter warned of a Russian “subversive group” operating in the country to “spark unrest”.

In his press comments, the official claimed the “only goal” of Saakashvili’s clandestine return to Georgia from Ukraine in September 2021 after eight years in exile, prior to domestic municipal elections, had been to “spark confrontation and unrest” in the country to regain office. 

Saakashvili, a foreign citizen [in reference to the former President’s Ukrainian citizenship] who is being run by special services of a foreign state and was sneaked into Georgia on a [freight] container in 2021 to trigger unrest in the country, has no right to speak about any sabotage”, Papuashvili said. 

Having engaged remotely in a Tbilisi City Court trial hearing on Monday of a case of embezzlement of state funds allegedly involving him, Saakashvili claimed an armed “subversive group”, subordinated to the First Main Division of the Russian Army, was present in Georgia with a goal to “spark destabilisation”. 

Also calling for a “civil defence hotline”, the former official said the means would be used by citizens to call and provide information about “any anti-Georgian sentiments” from the “100,000 Russians” - who he said had entered Georgia on the backdrop of Moscow’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine - to “trace” the alleged group in question.