On July 17, Lieutenant General Guram Nikolaishvili evaluated Georgia’s participation in peacekeeping operations as going against the country’s interests at Night Studio of TV Obiektivi. He claimed that it costs Georgia GEL 200 million each year to participate in the peacekeeping missions, while the West does not spend anything in this direction and the United States has only allocated USD 67 million for training three battalions.
The statement that it costs Georgia GEL 200 million to participate in the peacekeeping missions each year and that the U.S. aid in this regard is minimal, is disinformation. In fact, 1. The sum designated in Georgia’s budget for participating in the international peacekeeping missions is nearly five times smaller than the amount named by Nikolaishvili. Only 5% of the Defense Ministry’s budget is designated for that purpose. 2. In 2010-2018, the United States allocated USD 200 million for training Georgia to participate in the peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan. In the last three years, the U.S. provided USD 302.7 million worth of military aid to Georgia.
1. Georgia in the international missions
According to the data by the Ministry of Defense of Georgia, GEL 41.85 million is allocated for international peacekeeping missions in the 2020 budget of the Ministry. The gross amount of the 2020 Ministry of Defense budget is GEL 902 million. The similar amount was spent from the budget of Georgia for the participation in the international peacekeeping missions in the last years as well. In 2019, it cost Georgia GEL 42.75 million to participate in the peacekeeping missions, in 2018 – GEL 40.44 million. On average, less than 5% of the budget of the Ministry of Defense of Georgia is spent on participating in the peacekeeping missions.
2. United States’ aid to Georgia for participating in the peacekeeping mission and strengthening defense.
The United States has been funding the participation of Georgian militaries in the Resolute Support Mission via Coalition Readiness Support Program. In 2010-2018, approximately USD 200 million were allocated to that end.
According to the Security Assistance Monitor by the Center for International Policy, the aid allocated by the U.S. to Georgia in 2015-2019 amounted to USD 302.7 million. In 2019, it equaled USD 35 million and in 2020 – USD 25.2 million.
Read more about the aid allocated by the United States and the NATO with the aim of increasing Georgia’s defense capacity in this article by the Myth Detector:
- Disinformation by the Alliance of Patriots about the NATO and the U.S. allegedly not funding any of the programs in Georgia.
Georgia in the international missions
Participating in international missions is important for the readiness and training of the defense forces of Georgia, as it represents an opportunity to gain the necessary experience. Moreover, by participating in the peacekeeping missions, Georgia contributes to the global security. Participating in the missions with the partners is also important for Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration and helps Georgia approximate its standards with those of the NATO.
Georgia participates in the NATO Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan and the EU peacekeeping missions in the Republic of Central Africa and Mali.
Resolute Support Mission (RSM)
Georgian defense forces joined NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan in August 2004. Since 2015, Georgian defense forces have participated in the RSM. Before departing for the mission, Georgian units undergo an intensive four-month training, led by a group of instructors from infantry corps of the U.S. Navy. In addition, the Georgian contingent undergoes a one-month task-oriented training in Hohenfels, Germany, where the level of the battalion’s readiness is evaluated.
Mission in the Central African Republic and Mali
Georgia joined the peacekeeping mission in the Republic of Central Africa (RCA) in June 2014. Since July 2016, based on EU’s decision, the European Union Training Mission in the Republic of Central Africa (EUTM - RCA) has been underway, which aims to support the reform of the RCA’s defense sector. Georgian defense forces have taken part in the missions since February 2017 and are currently represented with 35 military officers.
In accordance with the Resolution #2085 of the United Nations Security Council, the EU began a training mission for the Armed Forces of Mali – EUTM Mali. Since January 2016, the Georgian Defense Forces have been represented in the EUTM Mali by a liaison officer, whose responsibilities include coordination with other EU missions, as well as international and non-governmental organizations across the Republic of Mali.
Kremlin’s propaganda message: integration into NATO = economic burden
According to MDF’s 2019 report titled Anti-Western Propaganda, one of the messages, disseminated by the Alliance of Patriots last year was that the expenditures from the budget of Georgia on collective security were unreasonable and unjustified.
The message that Georgia’s aspiration to became a NATO member destroys the Georgian economy was also disseminated on July 10 by Shota Apkhaidze, the Editor of a pro-Kremlin media outlet News-Front. Read more on the disinformation around this issue in an article by the Myth Detector:
By Neni Marsagiliani and Ana Chitaladze
Myth Detector Lab