In Tbilisi, thousands of Georgians took to the streets over three consecutive nights to protest against what they said was a Russian-inspired “foreign agents” law that threatened to derail the country’s bid for closer ties with Europe, according to Reuters.
“It is very similar to the Kyiv Maidan,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told state television, referring to the 2014 Maidan revolution which toppled a pro-Russian president in Ukraine.
“It seems to me that all the countries located around the Russian Federation should draw their own conclusions about how dangerous it is to take a path towards engagement with the United States’ zone of responsibility, its zone of interests.”
Washington, Brussels and NATO say they are legitimately building ties with countries which became independent after the fall of the Soviet Union – and that many fear their much more powerful neighbour Russia.
For centuries, Russia has been the ultimate arbiter of affairs across the vast lands which for nearly three centuries made up the Russian empire and then the Soviet Union.
Washington and the broader West, Lavrov said, wanted to punish Russia because it was perceived as “too independent a player” which challenged the hegemony of the United States.
Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister since 2004, said that events in Georgia were orchestrated from outside and motivated by a Western attempt to claw away Russia’s traditional allies.
He said Georgia’s law on foreign agents, which parliament dropped on Friday, had been used as a pretext “to start what is, essentially, an attempt to force a change of power.”