Ivanishvili’s Anti-Western Messages and Disinformation — What the Oligarch Said at the Counter-Protest

ქართული ოცნება

On April 29, a counter-protest organized by the Dream was held, which was announced by the ruling party in response to the protests against the Russian law. People were brought from all over Georgia for the meeting. During the day, there were comments in the media, where it seemed that some of them did not want to show their faces, some did not know exactly where they were going, although there were those who were more enthusiastic.

Some of the people were brought to Tbilisi in the morning, and some joined them gradually. The rally of the opponents of the Russian law was not held on Rustaveli Avenue today – this time, the citizens gathered in Vake Park and later moved to Mziuri.

Party leaders addressed the participants of the contraction organized by Georgian Dream. Anti-Western and homophobic statements were made. The last speaker was the oligarch Bidzina Ivanishvili, who came back to politics for the third time, who this time is the honorary chairman of Georgian Dream.

Bidzina Ivanishvili began his speech by congratulating Bzoba and the coming Easter in advance, and then he reminded the audience of the words of Merab Kostava, which citizens who oppose the Russian law have been actively quoting in recent days:

“Remember, you will be there at the time when Georgia becomes free! But know that if even then, in an independent country, you stop fighting for freedom, you and the country will lose this freedom.”

After these words, Ivanishvili said that “Georgia should be governed by the government elected by the Georgian people”. And that’s how he started blaming the West for the “9 bloody years”.

The founder of the Georgian Dream said that in 2004-2012, Georgia was not ruled by the government elected by the people, but by a “revolutionary committee appointed from outside, a foreign agency”. He called the Rose Revolution a “revolution arranged by the hands of the NGOs”, which is incorrect and manipulative information – in November 2003, hundreds of Georgian citizens participated in the processes, as a result of which Eduard Shevardnadze resigned.

In his speech, Ivanishvili repeatedly called the government that came after the Rose Revolution “the rule of people appointed from outside”, which, according to him, showed us how severe “the inevitable result of the loss of freedom, independence and sovereignty is”.

Ivanishvili recalled prisons, inhumane treatment of prisoners, pressure on business, interference in media independence and also said that “the bloody regime […] lost 20% of Georgia’s territories”. In the speech, which consisted of more than 1,600 words, he mentioned Russia only once, when he spread another conspiracy about the “Global War Party” and said that they “pitted Georgia against Russia” in 2008. The oligarch explained Russia’s attack on Ukraine with this manipulation and once again spread his party’s conspiracy theory that someone in the West wants to involve Georgia in the war.

“From the beginning of 2022 until now, Georgia has endured the most difficult struggle to prevent war and maintain peace. Despite the promise of the Bucharest summit in 2008, they did not let Georgia and Ukraine join NATO and left them alone. All such decisions are made by the Global War Party, which has a decisive influence on NATO and the European Union, and for which both Georgia and Ukraine have only the price of war meat. They first pitted Georgia against Russia in 2008, and in 2014 and 2022 they put Ukraine in an even more difficult situation. The main reason for the aggression of the Global War Party towards Georgia is that, despite great efforts, it could not turn Georgia into a second front, which it would have achieved very easily under the conditions of the agency’s return to power.

Speaking about the governance of the United National Movement, the oligarch said that “everything they did was ordered and managed from the outside, from their bosses”. He did not mention who exactly he meant by “owners”, although he mentioned “foreign politicians” and it is clear from his speech that he is making another anti-Western statement and pointing his finger at Georgia’s long-term partners.

Ivanishvili announced to the gathered people that “these foreigners” still want to return the “inhumane and sadistic dictatorship” to Georgia and that “the sadism of the regime enjoyed full support from the NGOs as well”. It is worth noting that for many years, Georgia has been receiving financial support from the country’s Western partners, through which roads are built, water runs in villages, farmers and small businesses are helped, and these projects are often implemented through the Georgian government – it is specific agencies that spend Western money on this or that project. As for non-governmental organizations, they help citizens to protect their rights, get education, etc. free of charge. And their funding is usually published on their own websites. In addition, the authorities have access to relevant documentation.

During his speech, Ivanishvili, according to him, recalled the words of the “Indian leader, Jawaharlal Nehru, “with a little bit of change”: “There is no greater enemy of one’s country than the pseudo-elite raised by a foreign country”. According to him, these people “do not love their own country or people, because they don’t really consider it their own. On the contrary, they are ashamed of their own country and people”. This proposal of the oligarch is also a propaganda narrative and aims to throw mud at non-governmental organizations – those non-governmental organizations that help the population of Georgia, investigate the corrupt schemes of the authorities and observe the elections.

In the 13th year after entering politics, Ivanishvili, who returned for the third time, also said that, “on principle and dedication”, he personally continues to fight for the “full restoration of the sovereignty” of Georgia.

The oligarch spread another disinformation when he said that “non-transparent funding of non-governmental organizations is the main tool with which you can appoint the Georgian government from the outside”. As we have already mentioned, there is no problem of transparency of financing, because the relevant agencies have access to the finances of the organizations. As for the “appointment of the government from outside”, this is another conspiracy of the Georgian dream.

During his speech, he repeatedly mentioned the financing of non-governmental organizations and lied that these funds have nothing to do with aid and that the goal is to lose Georgia’s sovereignty. Even on government websites, it is possible to see how much money the West spends to help the citizens of Georgia, not to mention the organizations that provide many services to the population for free with Western money.

During his speech, Ivanishvili also said that “today’s Georgia is neither the Georgia of Shevardnadze’s time nor the Ukraine of Yanukovych”, he again spoke about the conspiracy to change the government and noted that “it is impossible to change the government in today’s Georgia by the hands of unpopular “members of the United National Movement” and “NGOs”. According to him, the Russian law serves to strengthen the sovereignty.

The oligarch also spoke about the violation of the promise given to the people by the Georgian Dream – when the government promised not to return the Russian law, but reintroduced it a year later. According to Ivanishvili, last year a large part of society was “misled” and it was the duty of Georgian Dream to take their “anxiety” into consideration. He cited as the second reason that if the law was not recalled last year, difficulties could be created for the country’s political stability.

According to Ivanishvili, the situation is radically different this year and they have full resources to adopt the Russian law “without harming the stability of the state”.

“Making the right move at the right time is the main art of politics. “My political past allows me to prove that as a political leader, I can calculate such moves well,” he added.

Ivanishvili’s speech did not pass without talking about the non-existent “LGBT propaganda”. According to him, no one should have the illusion that without these draft laws, they would be “rested for a long time”. Ivanishvili drew a comparison to the criticism related to the independence of the court and the Central Election Commission and said that they are trying to “shake” these two institutions.

“The court is still demanding the so-called vetting, i.e. the introduction of a foreign government, which should carry out repressions and staff the judicial system with agencies. The demands related to the Central Election Commission served a similar purpose, which the Parliament of Georgia rightly did not take into account.”

Despite the fact that there are journalistic investigations and studies, according to Ivanishvili, “they cannot name any case that the court decided unfairly under the pressure of the political authorities or in general”.

“The same forces that organized our revolutions two and four years ago, would definitely attack our country with a new force in the autumn and try once again to return the agency to power. The energy that they should have gathered for the fall, now they are wasting it on the street prematurely”, – Ivanishvili voiced another conspiracy theory.

According to him, therefore, the initiation of the homophobic law and the Russian law had a double benefit: “On the one hand, there is no alternative to the legislative regulation of these two issues, and on the other hand, the premature expenditure of accumulated energy will completely exhaust the already weakened agency.”

According to him, the time for the initiation of the draft laws has been chosen perfectly. The oligarch claims that the country and the government will not lose anything with these processes, “except that we will once again upset the Global War Party, which does not lack resentment towards us for not opening the second front”. We note once again that the “Global War Party” is an artificially created narrative by the Georgian Dream, according to which the West is trying to “involve” Georgia in the war.

At the end of his speech, Ivanishvili spoke about the trial of the United National Movement “as a united criminal and treacherous group” and added that, unfortunately, this did not happen. According to him, at that time they had “no resources to punish the Nationalists”. He accused the West of “protecting the “bloody criminals” with their teeth and again spread misinformation that they designated the United National Movement as a radical opposition from outside Georgia in the same way as they designated us as the government before.” Ivanishvili also said that if it were not for “external support”, Georgia would have broken the “closed circle of polarization” in the shortest possible time.

Ivanishvili accuses the “Global War Party” of “forcing” the European Parliament to support the resolution related to the Russian law, which the oligarch calls “completely non-European”.

The oligarch also made election promises — first of all, he said that after the elections, the “Collective National Movement” will be handed a harsh political and legal sentence, “which it deserves for 9 years of bloody rule and 12 years of damage.

Despite the anti-Western rhetoric and the spreading of open disinformation by the West, Ivanishvili’s next promise is to join Georgia in the European Union by the year of 2030.

After around a year and a month of rejecting it, Georgian Dream is bringing back the Russian Law, without any preliminary warning. Mamuka Mdinaradze announced this on April 3rd, and uploaded the draft law which was rejected a year ago on the website of the parliament.

The content of the law is going to be the same, except they will not be using the word “agent”. With this, Georgian Dream is also indicating that what we were calling a Russian law a year ago, we should not call the same this year. Still, citizens are gathering on Rustaveli Avenue and protesting actively.

On April 3, Georgian Dream initiated the homophobic draft law, which is against the human rights, and, among other things, contains statements which aim to control gathering and expression, and aims for censorship.