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Prominent Georgian Dream MPs ‘leave party’ to float EU conspiracy

29 June 2022
Dimitri Khundadze, Sozar Subari, and Mikheil Kavelashvili.

 Three MPs from Georgian Dream have left the ruling party in order to outline a far-reaching conspiracy theory implicating Ukraine, the EU, the opposition UNM, and civil society groups in fomenting revolution to involve Georgia in the war in Ukraine.

Announcing the decision on Tuesday evening, Georgian Dream’s parliamentary chair, Mamuka Mdinaradze, hailed the three MPs as worthy members of the party. He said they felt the need to leave the party to speak about ‘political facts and events from behind the scenes’ which would ‘allow the public to draw the right conclusions’.

Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili had previously threatened to ‘lift the curtain’ on Georgia’s EU membership application process if the EU treated Georgia in an ‘unfair and insulting’ way.

The move comes as Georgian Dream faces the biggest challenge to their ten-year rule over their failure to secure EU candidate status. Both Ukraine and Moldova were granted candidacy while Georgia was given a list of conditions they must meet before their application could be reexamined.

Two demonstrations over the last week saw around 100,000 people outside parliament calling for EU membership, and protest leaders are now demanding the government step down in favour of a ‘technical government’ to fulfil the EU-mandated reforms.

Shota Dighmelashvili of the Shame Movement announced a deadline of 3 July for the government to resign at a demonstration on 24 June. Photo: Mariam Nikuradze/OC Media.

EU candidacy failure ‘meant to spark revolution’

The three MPs, Dimitri Khundadze, Sozar Subari, and Mikheil Kavelashvili, penned a joint statement on Wednesday to shed light on ‘Georgian politics behind the curtains’ and alleged that giving this ‘dosage of truth’ was the only disagreement with their former party.

The MPs accused the United National Movement (UNM), the formerly ruling party and currently the largest parliamentary opposition group, as well as ‘NGO leaders’ and ‘TV personalities’ allied with them of ‘introducing the EU candidacy topic’, something they called a ‘mouse trap’, set for the Georgian government in order to fail. 

Georgian Dream chair Irakli Kobakhidze earlier also speculated after Georgia submitted their application that Georgia may have been pushed to apply earlier than 2024 to fail it.

A pro-EU demonstration on 20 June. The protests have been the largest in recent memory. Photo: Mariam Nikuradze/OC Media.

Khundadze, Subari, and Kavelashvili alleged that the aim was to ‘artificially spark the revolution’ after the EU’s expected denial in order to oust the current government through ‘taking over the judiciary’ through reforms forced on them.

The ultimate goal, according to them, was to free Georgian ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili and media manager Nika Gvaramia from prison, purge Georgian Dream founder and former PM Bidzina Ivanishvili from the country, and involve Georgia in a war with Russia. 

‘They understand it too well that Irakli Gharibashvili would never sacrifice the country and the people for the pivotal war and neither would Bidzina Ivanishvili demand from him to do this’, the statement said. 

The MPs also accused Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili and the Ukrainian leadership, including President Volodymyr Zelensky, of being involved in the conspiracy, while strongly hinting that the EU itself was also involved. 

[Read more on OC Media: Georgian President promises to veto ‘all laws’ that move country in the ‘wrong direction’]

‘Pointless’ EU candidate status

The MPs reiterated recent Georgian Dream talking points that, unlike Georgia, war-torn Ukraine and neighbouring Moldova, struggling with the ‘gravest’ economic challenges and refugees, were expected to get EU candidate status. 

They said EU membership was ‘pointless’ to Ukraine and Moldova because of these factors, and that the topic of applying now was introduced to ‘aggravate the political background for the Georgian government and artificially create a revolutionary spark.’

Demonstrators hold a giant Moldovan flag at a pro-EU demonstration in Tbilisi on 20 June. Photo: Mariam Nikuradze/OC Media.
Students address a pro-EU demonstration in Tbilisi. Ukrainian flags have become a common sight in Tbilisi since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Photo: Mariam Nikuradze/OC Media.

The three referred to EU candidacy status as ‘pointless’, weeks after both PM Irakli Gharibashvili and Georgian Dream chair Irakli Kobakhidze described it as merely ‘symbolic’ and that 'in practicality’ and that there was  ‘nothing to gain’ from it. 

‘No one is going to grant candidacy status to Georgia even in six months unless it gets involved in the war or puts sanctions on Russia, something that is also a road directly leading to a war’, three MPs argued in their letter.

The ‘aboslutely unprecedented 6-month period’ set by the EU on 23 June before reexamining Georgia’s progress on reforms and candidacy status, according to three MPs, ‘was invented for the purpose of sustaining turbulence in a segment of society’. 

The three MPs are all prominent members of the ruling party.

Sozar Subari joined Georgian Dream in 2012 and has served in a number of government posts before becoming an MP.

Dimitri Khundadze was among the Georgian Dream MPs to ‘rebel’ against the party and vote against constitutional amendments in November 2019. The move was widely seen by the opposition and government critics as having been orchestrated by the ruling party to make a U-turn on their commitment to introduce parliamentary elections.

Mikheil Kavelashvili is a former footballer elected to parliament in 2016.

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