It is no coincidence that as Washington wages proxy war against Russia in Ukraine that familiar trouble spots elsewhere along Russia’s periphery have ignited again. In the Caucasus region nation of Georgia, protests have begun, targeting the current government and attempting to obstruct a transparency bill aimed at exposing and managing the very sort of US and European interference driving the protests.
The BBC in its article, “Georgia protests: Police push protesters back from parliament,” would claim:
Police have used water cannon and tear gas against protesters in Georgia’s capital, Tbilisi, for a second night. The crowds are angry at a controversial Russian-style law, which would class non-government and media groups as “foreign agents” if they receive more than 20% of their funds from abroad.
The article also said:
A similar law in Russia has been used to severely limit press freedom and supress civil society. “We think that our government is under Russian influence and it’s very bad for our future,” said Lizzie, one of many students taking part in the protests.
However, it is quite clear that by “civil society,” the BBC is referring to Western-sponsored opposition groups active in Georgia since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Beyond the irony of Western-sponsored opposition groups complaining about “Russian influence” when they themselves are products of US-European influence, the protests seek specifically to obstruct attempts by Georgia to protect its sovereignty from Washington, London, and Brussels’ unwarranted influence.
The BBC attempts to cast doubts on the Georgian government’s motivations for passing laws meant to expose foreign funding within Georgia’s media and political space.
The article claims:
Georgian Dream chairman Irakli Kobakhidze said criticism of the draft law as similar to Russia’s own repressive legislation was misleading. “In the end, the stir will die out and the public will have transparency in the funding of NGOs,” he said.
However, Eka Gigauri of Transparency International told the BBC that NGOs were already subject to 10 different laws and the finance ministry already had full access to accounts, funding and other information.
While at first it might seem odd that an organization called “Transparency International” would be arguing against more transparency especially in regards to something as sensitive as foreign funding, a look at Transparency International’s own funding which includes the US State Department, the EU Commission, and the UK Foreign Office, it becomes clear that the organization exists to advance Western foreign policy objectives, specifically at the cost of actual transparency.
The BBC attempts to reinforce its narrative by claiming protesters are fighting for their “future” in the European Union, however, what the BBC is actually describing is not only a repeat performance of US-sponsored regime change efforts that targeted Ukraine in 2014 triggering the ongoing conflict Russia has since intervened in, but also a repeat performance of US interference within Georgia itself.
History Repeating Itself
As early as 2003, the United States government sponsored regime change in Georgia.
In a 2004 article by the London Guardian titled, “US campaign behind the turmoil in Kiev,” the Guardian not only talks about US interference in Ukraine amid the so-called Orange Revolution, but also in both Serbia and Georgia.
The article admits:
…the campaign is an American creation, a sophisticated and brilliantly conceived exercise in western branding and mass marketing that, in four countries in four years, has been used to try to salvage rigged elections and topple unsavoury regimes.
Funded and organised by the US government, deploying US consultancies, pollsters, diplomats, the two big American parties and US non-government organisations, the campaign was first used in Europe in Belgrade in 2000 to beat Slobodan Milosevic at the ballot box.
Richard Miles, the US ambassador in Belgrade, played a key role. And by last year, as US ambassador in Tbilisi, he repeated the trick in Georgia, coaching Mikhail Saakashvili in how to bring down Eduard Shevardnadze.
From 2003 onward, the US would pour in weapons and provide training to Georgia’s military. By 2008, Georgia would attack Russia in an ill-fated and short proxy war that in many ways justifies Moscow’s national security concerns regarding Ukraine from 2014 onward.
While many across both Western governments and the media attempt to portray the 2008 conflict as a “Russian invasion,” Reuters in a 2009 article titled, “Georgia started war with Russia: EU-backed report,” would report:
“In the Mission’s view, it was Georgia which triggered off the war when it attacked Tskhinvali (in South Ossetia) with heavy artillery on the night of 7 to 8 August 2008,” said Swiss diplomat Heidi Tagliavini, who led the investigation.
The article would also note:
…the findings were particularly critical of U.S. ally Georgia’s conduct under President Mikheil Saakashvili and are likely to further damage his political standing.
It was Mikheil Saakashvili who the Guardian, in its 2004 article, admitted came to power following political interference “organized by the US government.”
Georgia a Proxy Again: Washington Seeks New Front vs. Russia
Despite what many protesters in Tbilisi may think they’re protesting for, the reality is Washington seeks to open a second front against Russia to improve its odds regarding its flagging proxy war in Ukraine.
Far from speculation, the use of Georgia for exactly this purpose was articulated in detail in a 2019 RAND Corporation paper titled, “Extending Russia.”
Among other measures meant to extend and exhaust Russia including “Provide Lethal Aid to Ukraine,” was “Exploit Tensions in the South Caucasus.”
The paper elaborates:
…the United States could push for a closer NATO relationship with Georgia and Azerbaijan, likely leading Russia to strengthen its military presence in South Ossetia, Abkhazia, Armenia, and southern Russia.
Russia being forced to strengthen its military presence in South Ossetia, Abkhazia, Armenia, and southern Russia would, Washington hopes, divert resources away from Ukraine.
The paper explains further:
Georgia has long sought NATO membership; it joined the North Atlantic Cooperation Council in 1992 shortly after becoming independent and joined the Partnership for Peace program in 1994. In theory, the Allies put Georgia on a path to membership, but the 2008 Russo-Georgia war put this effort on indefinite hold. Georgia, however, has never given up on its NATO ambitions, participating in NATO operations in the Mediterranean, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. If European opposition prevents Georgia’s accession into the Alliance, the United States could establish bilateral security ties.
Of course, this is all dependent on Georgia being run by an obedient US client regime, necessitating the current protests which also in and of themselves creates instability along Russia’s borders and serves the same purpose of adding pressure onto Russia overall.
While the BBC’s recent article suggests protesters in Georgia are fighting for their best interests, the RAND Corporation reveals just how devastating Georgia’s use by the United States against Russia has been.
The paper notes:
In August 2008, after peace agreements with separatists broke down, Georgia fought a brief war over the South Ossetia and Abkhazia enclaves, two semi-independent pro-Russia provinces of Georgia. The war proved disastrous for Georgia. Russia quickly intervened and eventually occupied both regions and, briefly, other parts of Georgia as well. Georgia signed a cease-fire agreement on August 14, 2008, only eight days after the Russian intervention. However, Russian forces remain in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, both of which have since declared their independence.
The paper also warns that if Tbilisi were to pursue NATO membership, “Russia might well intervene again.”
Just as in Ukraine where US foreign policy has hijacked the nation, its people, its government, and military, putting it on the path toward complete self-destruction, the US seeks to light on fire and burn to the ground other nations along Russia’s periphery in an attempt to “extend Russia” as US policy papers literally say in their titles. This includes Georgia.
Added to this, the fact that US-sponsored protesters are complaining about “Russian influence” but are eagerly fighting against legislation meant to make foreign funding more transparent once again illustrates how supposed “Western values” are mere smokescreens behind which the US and its allies advance their foreign policy objectives in contravention of international law, not in support of it.
Brian Berletic is a Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.