US Threatens Sanctions and Warns Georgia Against Pro-Russian Shift

The US spent billions of dollars to rebuild Georgia after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and hundreds of millions were planned for the country's economy and military, James O'Brien said

by Sededin Dedovic
SHARE
US Threatens Sanctions and Warns Georgia Against Pro-Russian Shift
© Daro Sulakauri / Getty Images

United States has warned Georgia against turning against the West and returning under Moscow's wing, following the parliament's decision to adopt a law "inspired by the Kremlin" despite massive street protests. Assistant Secretary of State for Washington, James O'Bryan, spoke of concerns that the adoption of the "foreign agents" law in the Georgian parliament could be another "turning point" in the problematic history of the former Soviet state.

In comments that, according to The Guardian, signaled the belief in the US that the Georgian government had once again aligned with Russia, O'Bryan suggested that funding from the US could soon be withdrawn. The US has spent billions of dollars on Georgia's reconstruction after the collapse of the Soviet Union, with hundreds of millions planned for the country's economy and military, he said.

Under the new Georgian law, media or civil society groups in Georgia receiving more than 20 percent of their funding from abroad will have to register as "organizations serving the interests of foreign powers." Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Kobakhidze said on Monday that the country is a victim of the "global party of war" led by the US.

O'Bryan also criticized billionaire oligarch Bidzina Ivanishvili, the honorary chairman of the ruling party "Georgian Dream," who is believed to be influencing government policy. The American envoy requested a meeting with Ivanishvili, but was rejected on the grounds that the US had frozen $2 billion of his money through "de facto" sanctions, Kobakhidze told reporters on Monday.

O'Bryan said that "at this moment" there were no sanctions against Ivanishvili and that it was "shocking and disappointing that such a person is so misinformed." A large number of opposition leaders were severely beaten on the streets by unidentified gangs, and there are also videos showing police beating and kicking demonstrators.

O'Bryan warned that the US is ready to sanction ministers and officials of the Georgian government over the unfolding crisis.

Russian
SHARE