NATO Integration

Six Messages Against NATO – From “Newsfront” to “Alt-Info”

21 June, 2021

On June 14th, 2021, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) held its 31st summit in Brussels. Prior to the event, several openly and discretely pro-Russian, Kremlin-tied, ultranationalist and anti-Western actors became active. By spreading mixed messages, these actors aimed at invoking skepticism towards the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Anti-NATO sentiments were predominantly invoked by the following actors:

Six messages have emerged to the surface, most of which were already included in the annual reports of the Media Development Foundation and continued to cultivate the existing sentiments against NATO. The sole exception was the message directed to the summit itself, claiming that NATO has lost interest in the region.

 

  1. NATO = Provoking Russia: NATO represents the main source of Russian aggression, as the former aims to corner the latter. The integration of Georgia and Ukraine into NATO would result in the emergence of war.
  2. NATO = Territorial Loss: By becoming a member of NATO, Georgia will have to give up on its occupied territories.
  3. Neutrality and Direct Dialogue with Russia: It is within the interests of Ukraine and Georgia to start aiding the damaged relationship with Russia. This can only be achieved through opting for political neutrality and direct dialogue with Russia.
  4. Skepticism towards NATO: Georgia will never be accepted into NATO.
  5. NATO cannot Protect us: NATO is unable/unwilling to help and protect Georgia and Ukraine.
  6. NATO has lost interest in Georgia and Ukraine: Georgia and Ukraine were not invited to the NATO summit, indicating that they no longer remain on the organization’s agenda.

Message

Author

 

 

 

 

 

 

NATO = Provoking Russia

Valeri Kvaratskhelia, TV Host at Obieqtivi: “…All of this, by all means, serves the purpose of infiltrating Russia, reaching its borders and weakening it to become cornered by NATO. This all is to make Russia kneel similar to the Soviet Union.”

 

Guram Nikolaishvili, Alliance of Patriots of Georgia: “By allying with any given military alliance, we end up confronting the opposing other by default. This will inevitably result in military tensions, in which Georgia – a country with absolutely no chance of winning – will simply serve as the battleground.”

 

Irakli Jankarashvili, Newsfront: “The West prepares itself for a novel military provocation, as NATO began to transform Ukraine into a military range.”

 

Arno Khidirbegishvili, Editor-in-Chief of Sakinform: “Putin advises the Ukrainian government (Accordingly, the Georgian government as well) to consider Russian responsive measures while permitting the deployment of NATO’s air-defense systems into their territories. These launching devices can be used not only to deter the missiles but also to initiate a missile attack on Russia. Putin compared the case to the deployment of Soviet missiles in Cuba, ambivalently implying that the Eastward Expansion of NATO (i.e. the accession of Georgia and Ukraine to NATO) could result in the repetition of the Caribbean Crisis.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NATO = Territorial Loss

Irma Inashvili, Alliance of Patriots of Georgia: “Recently, American experts supporting Saakashvili and Bokeria often assert that Sokhumi and Tskhinvali are occupied and, therefore, lost. Hence, Georgia has to obtain NATO membership as soon as possible and leave Sokhumi and Tskhinvali behind.”

Tatia Gabritchidze, Host at Alt-Info: “…So, the main question remains whether we have to give up on the occupied territories and join NATO afterwards, or will we be accepted together with these territories?”

Tatia Gabritchidze, Host at Alt-Info: “So, If I understand this correctly, NATO membership implies that there will be no war in Georgia if we enter, but this does not mean that we will regain our territories, right?”

Mamuka Achba, Historian: “It is impossible not to think of who would want Georgia to access NATO without the territories that are recognized as ‘independent states’ by Russia… How can one imagine Georgia entering NATO without regaining its territorial integrity? This would mean that we have to cut off our relationship with Abkhazians, Ossetians and, most importantly, tens of thousands of Georgians living in the occupied territories.” (Alia, June 7-13)

Irine Gogosashvili, Journalist: “Much has changed, yet we stubbornly remain in this “open door.” Haunted by physical and psychological maladies, we deem to accept the fact that Abkhazia and Samachablo are nothing compared to the immense joy of becoming members of an enormous military alliance such as NATO.” (Alia, June 7-13)

 

 

 

 

 

Neutrality and Direct Dialogue with Russia

Irma Inashvili, Alliance of Patriots of Georgia: “Unfortunately, the total fabrication of the election results, in addition to the joint actions of Saakashvili-Bokeria group and the Georgian Dream party have significantly damaged the perspective of military non-alignment and direct dialogue. As of today, the working regime with the State Duma, Federation Council, Presidential and Governmental administrations has been reduced to zero, which, certainly, contradicts our national interests. Precisely because of Georgian national interests, we aim to renew and widen the dialogue group.”

Guram Nikolaishvili, Alliance of Patriots of Georgia: “Communications must be restored no matter what. This will be in the shape of a dialogue on the one hand, with, let’s say, the separatist side and, on the other hand, with the incumbent government. Dialogue with Russia represents an utmost priority, as nothing can happen without it.”

Tatia Gabritchidze, Host at Alt-Info: “As for the occupied territories and the foreign factor, the fact that Biden has lifted the imposed sanctions on the construction of the North Stream 2 project – as if indicating that instead of fighting, now is not the time to talk and stabilize relations with Russia – should not be understood by the Georgian or Ukrainian sides that the talks have to commence instead of showing fists supported by any third country, be it the U.S. or any other European country.”

Irakli Martinenko, Host at Alt-Info: “…The main task of the current puppet government and the whole political spectrum is to escalate the tensions with Russia. This is what they are getting paid for. Russia realizes this as well; therefore, it won’t return our territories. Here lies the importance of a dialogue… Without starting a dialogue, Russia will not return our territories.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Skepticism towards NATO

Guram Nikolaishvili, Alliance of Patriots of Georgia: NATO, and primarily, the United States, has basically given up on us, on Ukraine, Moldova and told us that they didn’t have time for Russia, so, in case anything happens, the memorandum should suffice, and we have to be ready to stand alone in the face of it...”

Nana Devdariani, Alliance of Patriots of Georgia: “… NATO has become the horizon of communism for us. I remember various epithets; sometimes they were giving us ‘the golden ticket,’ something ‘better than the MAP,’ sometimes we were aspirants. Now it turned out that us – aspirants are completely unprepared for this process.”

Malkhaz Topuria, Alliance of Patriots of Georgia: “We argue about mythical topics, about mythical NATO, where no one will ever let us join.”

Valeri Kvaratskhelia, TV Host at Obieqtivi: “Even in the future, nothing will be done in the direction of Georgia’s NATO membership… Putin openly told them that the red lines lie there, where Russian borders begin.”

Tatia Gabritchidze, Host at Alt-Info: “The only thing I remember is us receiving something better than MAP, but in reality, we do not have anything, do we? So, where lies the leverage for us to finally enter NATO?”

Zviad Tomaradze, Nation and State: To draw a complete picture, the perspective of joining NATO is very obscure for Georgia. I would bring the example of Cinderella, who desperately wants to attend the ball, but the stepmother repeatedly gives her new tasks. It’s something of that kind.”

Khatuna Khoperia, Former Member of the Parliament: “I don’t know. Will they even deliberate about us? They’ve already told us that the discussion about NATO is done for us! It’s finished! Once and for all, we must come to terms with the idea that we have to think differently!”

 Beso Barbakadze, Author at Georgia and World: “Individual European politicians indeed say that Georgia and Ukraine are ready for NATO, but they do so just to strengthen our tarnished beacon of hope. In reality, they know best that the membership of NATO and European Union will become the same unfulfilled wish not just for us, but also for Ukraine.”

Dmitriy Danilov, Head of the European Security Department at the European Institute of the Russian Science Academy: “Considering the flow of reforms in Georgia and Ukraine, their membership is a long-term perspective. Therefore, I would not claim that this issue stands firmly in the political agenda.”

NATO cannot Protect us

Davit Mkheidze, Author at Georgia and World: “The president of Turkey – a NATO member state – was shown the door. “We cannot start a war with Russia because of you!”- they said. The same will happen with Ukraine, with one ‘minor’ difference: They will equip Ukrainians with a lot of money and weapons. Why should Yankees care? Let the kindred Slavs slaughter each other.”

 

 

 

 

NATO has lost interest in Georgia and Ukraine

Beso Barbakadze, Author at Georgia and World: “What’s worth it, Georgia and Ukraine were not invited to the NATO summit. Georgian politicians did not even dare to ask for the reasons behind leaving out countries that were promised to enter NATO for so many years already.”

Valeri Kvaratskhelia, Author at Georgia and World: “Doesn’t the fact that Georgia and Ukraine were not invited to the summit planned on June 14th in Brussels attended by the U.S. president Joe Biden demonstrate this? After thirty years of diligent effort and exhausting wait, two of the post-Soviet republics were responded with such an insulting gesture.”

Maria Zakharova, Press-Speaker of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia: “Kyiv and Tbilisi were not invited to the NATO summit. While discussing the accession perspectives of Georgia and Ukraine to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Secretary General Stoltenberg stressed that reforms in the security sector represent the best way for these countries towards Euro-Atlantic integration. This slightly resembles the saying of a parent: “You have no business in the yard, go and complete your homework.”

The claim that the nonparticipation of Georgia and Ukraine to the recent NATO summit signals the loss of NATO’s interests in the region is manipulative. “Myth Detector” had emphasized before that out of all the summits that happened within the last five years, Georgia attended only ones in 2016 and 2018. Statements made by Georgian actors – as if NATO is punishing Georgia and Ukraine because of their inability to ‘complete the homework’, align with the rhetoric of Maria Zakharova, Press-Speaker of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia.

As for the remaining messages, since 2019, the Alliance of Patriots of Georgia has been actively pursuing the campaign in support of the military non-alignment (i.e. neutrality). Even before, in 2016, another pro-Kremlin political party – United Democratic Movement, has been voicing the same sentiments. Both of these parties strategically utilize controversial narratives around Article 5 of NATO, which concerns collective defense. These narratives denote the idea that the rapid accession of Georgia into NATO would entail invoking Article 5 to the occupied territories only after regaining the territorial integrity. This would result in the loss of the territories occupied by Russia.

The formula of Direct Dialogue with Russia, with Abkhazians and Ossetians voiced by actors similar to Alt-Info, aligns well with Kremlin’s political agenda. The same idea is being advocated by the Alliance of Patriots of Georgia for years now. The aforementioned formula neglects the Geneva International Discussions (GID) and, without the involvement of the strategic partners, leaves Georgia alone in the face of an occupier. The same strategy would give Russia a strong advantage, not to mention, it would allow the occupier to avoid responsibility for its actions. The main goal of Russia is to represent the relations with Abkhazians and Ossetians as ethnic conflicts, where Russia would take on the role of a conciliator and thus, avoid its share of responsibility for the occupation. For the same reason, the Alliance of Patriots of Georgia has been actively confronting the idea of labelling the Russian Federation as an occupier.


By Tamar Kintsurashvili and Keti Khutsishvili