“The Georgian people do not need to be under tutelage, especially from foreigners; if ambassadors represent anyone, they only represent the people of their country and protect only their own interests,” Georgian Parliament Speaker Shalva Papuashvili told reporters, commenting on US Ambassador Kelly Degnan’s statement.
According to the Speaker, activists of the United National Movement (UNM) party were predominantly among Georgian citizens who rallied on July 31 at the Batumi port against the entry of the Astoria Grande cruise ship with Russian citizens on board.
The Speaker noted that only 100-200 protested against the ship’s entry into the port and this does not reflect the Georgian society’s stance.
“It is a manipulation saying this was people’s will. The US Ambassador said that it is the Georgian people’s choice that Russian tourists should not arrive by sea or land. Judging this by 150 activists is merely a manipulation. However, making such a statement by foreign diplomats is a hazardous move when they speak on behalf of people,” he claimed.
Shalva Papuashvili said the protection of the Georgian people’s interests is not the duty of a foreign country’s ambassador.
“This is an unhealthy trend when we have similar facts on the part of representatives of foreign countries. This is a patronizing attitude towards the Georgian people; as if Georgians have no voice and need a foreign guardian to convey their views.
Georgian people elect their representatives through democratic elections and correspondingly, the Georgian democratic government acts in the interests of Georgian people,” he concluded, adding the “hysteria” around the ship was artificially caused by the UNM and its foreign allies.
“When such hysteria is supported, it fosters panic, violence, and attacks on the police. When we talk about depolarization, hysteria should not be invigorated,” said Shalva Papuashvili.
“No one should expect Georgians to welcome people from a country that occupies 20% of Georgia’s territory and that keeps families apart through artificial ABLs, that detains Georgian citizens and holds them sometimes for months at a time,” US Ambassador said.