by Henry Kamens, New Eastern Outlook:
In the wake of COVID and the current economic crisis you would think a country that has staked so much on tourism would not bite the hand that could [potentially] feed it. But conventional wisdom does not work when political parties will stoop to any level to spin the visit of a foreign journalist for political gain.
This was definitely the case with American-French journalist Vladimir Pozner, labelled as “Russian” by the Georgian media. The poor man ended up with an unexpected birthday surprise when he decided to celebrate in Tbilisi Georgia.
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Vladimir Pozner had his hotel in Tbilisi egged by so-called civil society activists operating under the guise of standing up for Georgia’s honour and claim to territorial integrity. This justification was done in a context where not a word is ever mentioned in the local media about the Kosovo precedent, other than in a few academic sources.
As one such source says,
It shall be mentioned here that even the intention to apply the Kosovo case as a precedent to the breakaway regions of Georgia – Abkhazia and the so-called South Ossetia has been openly declared by Vladimir Putin as early as in 2006, when the possibility of granting independence to Kosovo had been discussed: “If someone considers that Kosovo should be granted full independence, then why the peoples of Abkhazia and South Ossetia should not have the same right to statehood?”
According to NED funded sites, the ruling Georgian Dream government came under fire for allowing the visit of Russian-American, as described in the Georgian media, journalist Vladimir Pozner, following what were claimed to be controversial remarks about the country’s territorial integrity.
Little mention was made that he was born in France and is US citizen, and was considered the preferred guest concerning all things Russian and Russian-US relations on TV and radio programmes for many years, much like Stephen F, Cohen, who died this last year. During the 1980s, Pozner was a favourite guest on Ted Koppel’s Nightline.
The Georgian opposition, especially the United National Movement of former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili (now exiled and on the run in several countries) have not been able to make political gains on the election battlefield, and are still screaming foul over their dismal performance in the last election. They and other fringe political parties are now resorting to other ways of getting attention, and Pozner was a prime target, especially considering his age.
Media Rewrites Literature
A vocal minority of Georgians came out tossing eggs in response to the visit; however, they did not commit this act of rage for free, at least the ones tossing the most eggs. They collectively demanded that Vladimir Pozner and his birthday party attendees immediately leave the country, as if freedom of opinion is not guaranteed in the Georgian Constitution.
Some foreign sponsored media sites have also joined in, so much so that it distracts from their credibility. Take this example:
The curfew-busting visit of veteran Russian TV personality Vladimir Pozner and his high-powered birthday party (apparently including propaganda top-brass from TASS and Sputnik) caused some rioting. Pozner & possee retreated rather quickly, leaving some Georgians fuming at who gave a crew patently less than respectful of Georgian sovereignty a clear pass to hit Tbilisi’s restaurants.
It is unfortunate that Georgians are forgetting the basis of their history, which describes how a guest is from God, and must be respected, even if he is your enemy. But that is now a politically moot issue, as BIGGER moves are in play.
Radio Free Europe/VOA describes Pozner’s ordeal as a “Russian journalist’s birthday bash a bust after he’s friven out of Georgia by eggs, power cuts”, but it fails to fact check that he is an American journalist. However, it later mentions that he arrived in Georgia on his American passport, rather undercutting everything which went before.
This is all smelling of a political false flag, which many in Georgia are well experienced in. Take the 2008 Khurcha Incident, which was used to distract attention from the Georgian government stealing an election. There the Georgian government itself organised a terrorist attack and blew up two buses, allegedly being used to transport voters for parliamentary elections, unless rockets can turn 360 degrees in midair.
RFE’s Georgian Service claims to be “a trusted source of politically and financially independent journalism in a country where much of the media is aligned with the government or the opposition.” However it and other media sources have a track record of supporting an agenda which is not always in the interest of Georgia, its territory integrity or the rule of law.
It becomes only too apparent, reading the coverage of it, that this birthday trip was more of an ambush than a knee jerk reactionary protest, as claimed by Western supported media outlets. The basis for the attack on Pozner’s party was a claim that back 2010, Pozner said that “Georgia has lost [Abkhazia] forever” and the area “will never be Georgia’s territory again.” He also blamed Tbilisi for the 2008 Russian-Georgian conflict.
Such claims are often repeated in the Georgian media, and especially among those who know the history of Georgia and its breakaway regions, and how negotiations to regain territory integrity have been handled. These included the ill-planned and ill-delivered 2008 war, prompted by hawking US Senator John McCain, now deceased, who thought his presidential run would be helped by a little shooting war in Georgia.
Ugly Head of anti-Semitism
But those closer to events suggest that attacking Pozner could be a symptom of the stoking of anti-Semitism in Georgia. In recent years there has been a tendency amongst those in the opposition camp to move towards extreme political views, having seen too many global trends. Not that they are Jew hating, but they cannot miss an opportunity to find ways to stir the larger political pot, no holds barred.