22 June 2024,   18:58
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Thousands of Georgians have taken to the streets to protest, their desire for self-determination and freedom from Russian coercion is obvious - Senator Mitch McConnell

In an attempt to consolidate its hold on government, the Georgian Dream Party would stamp out the Euro-Atlantic aspirations of the Georgian people, said the US Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell on the Senate floor regarding Georgia.

“In an attempt to consolidate its hold on government, the Georgian Dream Party would stamp out the Euro-Atlantic aspirations of the Georgian people. And while the political opposition is large, it is chronically divided against itself.

Despite their feckless party leaders, thousands of Georgians have taken to the streets to protest. Their desire for self-determination and freedom from Russian coercion is obvious. Four in five Georgians tell pollsters they want a distinctly European future. They believe that planting themselves firmly in the West, among democratic nations where the rule of law prevails, is in their best interests.

Whether Georgia looks East or West matters to the United States. Standing with free peoples resisting the aggression of tyrants like Putin or Xi is in our own interests. This is true of Taiwan and Ukraine, Estonia and Japan. And it’s true of Georgia. The Georgian people deserve to write their own future, not have it dictated to them by Moscow’s preferred party chiefs. And why is it that Russians obsess over controlling Georgia’s future? It’s about more than acting out Putin’s neo-imperialist fantasy.

Geography matters. For millennia, Georgia and its Black Sea coast have stood at the crossroads of the civilized world. It’s a key transit point for critical resources. And today, along with Armenia, it sits as a tantalizing link in the land bridge between authoritarian partners in Moscow and Tehran.

The people of Georgia have a long history of enduring conflict and conquest. They have a long tradition of resilience and a rich culture to be proud of. And they know there’s a difference between bending to Russia and turning to the West. So, like friends of the Georgian people across the West, I’m hopeful that this moment will be one in which they can take yet more pride… As a moment when the opposition to Russian coercion puts petty differences aside and stood united.

Of course, this must also be a moment for Georgia’s ruling party to recognize the costs of ignoring their people’s will in order to fulfill Putin’s whims. And to stop short of shredding their relationship with the West. I hope those in power in Tbilisi will put sovereignty over subjugation… And withdraw the coercive ‘Russia Law’ from parliament”, - concluded the Senator.

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