MOSCOW, March 10. /TASS/. The current developments in Georgia are "being orchestrated" from overseas, driven by a desire to create an irritant on Russia’s border, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Friday.
"Developments in Georgia are certainly being orchestrated from overseas. The driver is the same; it is the desire to create an irritant along Russia’s borders," he noted in an interview with Channel One’s "Bolshaya Igra" ("The Great Game") public affairs program.
"This time, it is about creating an irritant in a country where the current government - just like [former Ukrainian President Viktor] Yanukovich’s cabinet in 2013 - is primarily concerned about the nation’s economic interests and refuses to join sanctions on Russia, taking this position not because they are pro-Russian politicians but arguing that economic and trade ties with Russia, gas supplies, the export of wine, brandy, Borjomi mineral water and agricultural goods account for the lion’s share of Georgia’s foreign trade," Lavrov stressed.
According to Lavrov, Georgia is unwilling to give up this cooperation, although attempts are being made to force the Caucasus country to sacrifice its own national interests. "That said, the governments of both countries weren’t at all pro-Russian, but they simply were thinking of themselves rather than doing what they had been told to do," he added.
Thousands of protesters took to the streets of the Georgian capital of Tbilisi on March 7-8 after lawmakers had passed a bill on registering foreign agents in the first reading. Over 130 people were detained in the two days of protests. Georgia’s ruling party decided to withdraw the bill on March 9. In February, the country’s parliament registered a Georgian version of the foreign agents bill and a translation of the US foreign agents law. According to the Georgian version, media outlets could be designated as foreign agents, but the initiative did not cover individuals. The US version applied to both entities and individuals, and also stipulated criminal liability. The initiatives drew strong criticism from both the Georgian opposition and Western politicians.