Mr. Karasin’s remarks are outrageous and an insult to the Georgian people and state, American expert on Georgia, Lincoln Mitchell told the Accent on Thursday.
“The problem facing Georgia is not anti-Russian rhetoric in Tbilisi, but Russian aggression in Georgia that includes occupation of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, continuing to push even further into Georgia by moving boundary lines, and efforts by Moscow to play a disruptive and detrimental role in Geogian politics. Any Georgian official would be negligent if they did not speak out against this. Ms. Khidasheli, who was singled out by Mr. Karasin, has an accurate and appropriate understanding of Russia’s role in Georgia and much of the region more broadly”, Mitchell said.
According to the expert, “the Georgian government is in a difficult position as Russia remains a major threat and, of course, has powerful military”.
As for the Georgian government’s possible actions in this situation, Mitchel said: “Georgia’s leaders should continue to push for more support from the west, including membership into NATO, and should continue to raise awareness of the threat Russia poses to Georgia and beyond. They are already doing this and should not back down because bullying and inaccurate statements by anybody in Moscow”.
Georgia's special envoy on relations with Russia Zurab Abashidze met with Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Gregory Karasin in Prague on March 16.
“Now the main threat is approaching of the parliamentary elections in Georgia and growing provocative anti-Russian rhetoric heard in Tbilisi, heard from public figures and – what is the most regrettable for our bilateral relations – from officials, politicians, ministers and even the President. We pay attention to the above-mentioned, we try not to respond to everything, but we make our conclusions and now we are at the very watershed moment that we have to pass through – either we return to the period of confrontation or we will establish normal, respectful relations”, Karasin told Georgian journalists.
According to him, all the politicians in Georgia want to show that they are “the most patriotic and the most irreconcilable fighters with so called Russian expansion and Russian threat”.
“Georgia’s Defence Minister also said that the civilized world must stand united against Russian aggression. In a normal society, as a rule, such statements are not forgiven. We are still refraining from responding, but I am afraid that our patience also has a limit”, Karasin said.