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Irakli Kobakhidze: “There is nothing anti-Western and anti-American in their statements.”

Verdict: FactCheck concludes that Irakli Kobakhidze’s statement is a LIE.

Resume: Recently, the ruling party has visibly intensified the anti-Western campaign. It is possible to say that the decision of several MPs from the Georgian Dream (who later founded the Power of the People public movement) was in fact intended for harsher and more open criticism of the West as well as promotion of conspiracy theories.

Members of the Power of the People movement often employ insulting, unfounded allegations and rhetoric based on conspiracy theories vis-à-vis strategic partners. Their relatively new statements are mostly aimed at discrediting the USA and its Ambassador to Georgia. In particular, the Power of the People actively seeks to convince the public that the USA wants to open a “second front” in Georgia and stage a revolution here.

Given the aforementioned, Irakli Kobakhidze’s statement that there is nothing anti-Western and anti-American in the statements of the Power of the People is a LIE.

Analysis

According to the statement of the Georgian Dream chairperson, Irakli Kobakhidze, there are tactical differences between his team and four MPs who left the party although their values do not differ from those of the Georgian Dream’s. As stated by Mr Kobakhidze, there is nothing anti-Western and anti-American in the statement of the four MPs.

On 15 September 2022, Irakli Kobakhidze stated: “It is often said that their statements are anti-Western. There is nothing anti-Western and anti-American in these statements.”

FactCheck verified the accuracy of the ruling party’s chairperson’s statement.

As a reminder, after the European Parliament adopted a resolution critical of Georgia and the country was only granted a European perspective and not EU candidate status, the ruling party has visibly intensified its anti-Western campaign. Georgian Dream members often resort to open criticism, and sometimes insults, towards strategic partners.

It is possible to say that the decision of several MPs to leave the ranks of the Georgian Dream was in fact intended to promote conspiracy theories about the West (the former Georgian Dream MPs later founded the Power of the People public movement).

Members of the Power of the People movement stated that the reason behind leaving the Georgian Dream was to provide more information to the public. However, if we take a look at their statements and actions we may see that the only difference between the Power of the People and the Georgian Dream is that the former started to speak more boldly and foster a conspiracy theory which says that Western countries want Georgian to join the war.

FactCheck would like to remind readers that Power of the People members issued a number of insulting statements and letters against both American and European partners. For more details, see FactCheck’s article published on 19 August 2022.

After the publication of that article, the public heard even more insulting statements and groundless allegations from Power of the People members which were again directed against strategic partners.

On 22 August 2022, Power of the People members blamed the US Embassy in Georgia for supporting and coordinating a revolution. By taking the side of ISFED, members claimed that the US Embassy was straightforwardly telling the Georgian Dream that a revolution should take place, the United National Movement should come back to power to open the second front and the ruling party and the public should calmly accept this.

According the Power of the People members, ISFED and several other NGOs are directly involved in a revolutionary scenario whose implementation is coordinated by the US Embassy.

On 14 September 2022, Power of the People again issued a statement to discredit the USA and stated that the US Embassy and Kelly Degnan want to transform Georgia into a “second front.” In particular, the movement’s members claimed that Executive Director of McCain Institute, Evelyn Farkass, openly stated what the US Ambassador Kelly Degnan still cannot dare to utter.

The statement reads: “When the executive director of the McCain Institute openly calls upon us to provoke Russia with sanctions and engage in a military conflict with Russia, we think the public can draw very simple conclusions from this. What the official representative of the Government, Kelly Degnan, can't say openly, was told to us through the head of the McCain Institute.

Now the Georgian people must draw conclusions - either they must follow the Embassy's wishes and turn Georgia into a second front or they must evaluate how legitimate and acceptable their intention is - namely to drag Georgia into a military conflict with Russia without any guarantees which will lead to devastating consequences for Georgia.”

Following Irakli Kobakhidze’s aforementioned statement, Power of the People again attacked the USA with another statement on 19 September 2022. As mentioned in the new statement, American funding in Georgia is channelled not to strengthen the democratic system but to undermine it. The statement reads: “…Americans do not put real investment in the development of Georgia and, moreover, they received material benefit from Georgia valued at USD 2.5 billion. American funding in Georgia is channelled not to strengthen a democratic system but to undermine it. We have already said that and later we will provide much more information on this to the public.”

The statements analysed in the article, both by Irakli Kobakhidze and Power of the People, clearly indicate that the Georgian Dream and the MPs who only formally distanced from the ruling party have gone massively beyond the margins of diplomatic etiquette. Their rhetoric against strategic partners built on insulting and ungrounded allegations and conspiracy theories has become something routine. Therefore, Irakli Kobakhidze’s statement that there is nothing anti-Western and anti-American in the statements of Power of the People is a LIE.