Georgian Diplomacy servicing the ruling party
According to earlier obtained information, the Georgian Embassy in the United States has been sending political e-mails to people interested in our country, including influential American scholars and researchers. By doing so, the Embassy is trying to discredit both Bidzina Ivanishvili and the Georgian Dream political coalition. We consider these actions as examples of using national resources to favor the ruling political party. Using the diplomatic corps to campaign for the ruling party and to damage the reputation of rival political parties within the country is unacceptable since such steps utterly contradict the common democratic practices.
We received information regarding these political e-mails from two prominent American scholars. One of them presented us with e-mails sent to him by Khatuna Okroshidze, the second secretary of the Georgian Embassy to the United States. Okroshidze’s first e-mail contains a translation from an Asaval-Dasavali newspaper article in which John Bass is referred to in a negative context. In the e-mail, the Georgian Embassy representative also writes that Asaval-Dasavali is Ivanishvili’s favorite newspaper and it is famous for its xenophobic articles. Okroshidze’s second e-mail, sent to another American scholar, contains excerpts from different Georgian newspapers stating the viewpoints of the Industry Will Save Georgia political party representatives. The Embassy representative notes in the same e-mail that this political party is known for its anti-western attitudes. This stance includes its opposition to Georgia’s integration in NATO, its desire to create a Belarus-type isolated economy with Russia as Georgia’s major trading partner, and its hope to become a Georgian Dream coalition member. This other American scholar wrote to us that he often receives similar e-mails from the Georgian Embassy in the United States.
We hold that such acts are blatant violations of Georgian legislation and that they oppose diplomatic practices as they are established in democracies. Under Article 15 of the Georgian Law on Diplomatic Service: “A person shall cease any kind of political activity from the moment of his/her appointment to a diplomatic position. During his/her employment in the Diplomatic Service, a diplomatic agent shall remain politically neutral and shall have no right to carry out activity/propaganda in favor of or against any political party, organization or union”. Moreover, similar activities on behalf of the diplomatic service would have caused a serious scandal in other democratic countries. Subsequently, such activities should be avoided if we aspire to develop an advanced country.
We call to:
- The Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to examine the above facts, to take adequate measures and to not allow the diplomatic service to become politicized;
- The Intergovernmental Commission for Free and Fair Elections to react accordingly and to issue recommendations so as to prevent such actions from being repeated in the future.