Tbilisi. Photo: Geostrategy
The arrest of US regime change operatives in Tbilisi suggests a coup against Georgia’s government could be in the works. As Ukraine’s counteroffensive fails, the West appears eager to open a new front in its proxy war, reveals ‘The Grayzone’.
On September 29, in a disclosure ignored by the entire Western media, the US government-run Radio Free Europe’s Russian-language portal Slobodna Evropa revealed that three foreign operatives had been summoned for questioning by the Georgian Security Service, for allegedly assisting opposition elements prepare a Maidan-style regime change scenario in Tbilisi.
The operatives were staffers of the Center for Applied Nonviolent Actions and Strategies (CANVAS) and had been “temporarily staying in Georgia.” CANVAS is a US government-funded organization with close CIA ties which has trained regime change activists from Eastern Europe to Venezuela. The group’s website boasts of having cultivated over 16,000 activists in 52 countries since its founding in 2003, and “inspired” 126 “successful” political “campaigns” the world over.
The ruling Georgian dream has been portrayed in the west as a pro-Kremlin government. In reality, it’s simply reverted to a longstanding policy of balancing between East and West. For the neoconservative establishment, its true sin is being insufficiently supportive of the Ukraine proxy war. Thus Ukrainian elements are set to be involved in a possible color revolution. If such an operation succeeds, it would open a second front in that war on Russia’s Western flank.
The development seemingly confirms warnings from local security officials earlier this September. They cautioned “a coup a la Euromaidan is being prepared in Georgia,” referring to the 2014 US-backed color revolution which toppled Ukraine’s elected president and ushered in a pro-NATO government. The purported lead plotters are ethnic Georgians working for the Ukrainian government: Giorgi Lortkipanidze, Kiev’s deputy military intelligence chief; Mikhail Baturin, the bodyguard of former President Mikheil Saakashvili; and Mamuka Mamulashvili, commander of the notorious Georgian Legion.
A September 6 investigation by The Grayzone revealed that Georgian Legion chief Mamulashvili is centrally implicated in a false flag massacre of Maidan protesters, which was pivotal in unseating elected President Viktor Yanukovych. He apparently brought the shooters to Maidan Square to “sow some chaos” by opening fire on crowds, and provided sniper rifles for the purpose.
Georgian officials say that now they’ve uncovered evidence that young anti-government activists are undergoing training near Ukraine’s border with Poland to enact a similar scheme, which would feature a deadly bombing during planned riots meant to take place in Tbilisi between October and December, when the European Commission is expected to rule on whether Georgia can formally become an EU candidate country.
The State Security Service of Georgia (SSSG) said in a statement that young activists and a “rather large group of persons of Georgian origin” now fighting in Ukraine are currently being “trained/retrained in the vicinities of Poland-Ukraine state border in a scheme being implemented by the CANVAS operatives, who allegedly sought to topple the government in a bloody coup d’etat purportedly set to unfold in late October or early November. Per the Georgian authorities, the plot would involve the creation of a “tent city” in the capital, “erection of barricades on the central avenues and near strategic objects of Georgia,” occupation and seizure of government buildings, “as well as other illegal actions containing elements of serious provocation.”
The foreign-funded operatives are accused of plotting to carry out a shocking ‘false flag’ bombing in an effort to overthrow the elected government, with Kiev’s February 2014 Maidan “revolutionary scenario” specifically cited as a blueprint.
Under the operation, “an explosive device, which the organizers of criminal acts intend to detonate, will be placed in a pre-selected tent within the territory where the rallies organized by Giorgi Lortkipanidze and Mikheil Baturin will take place, namely in the so-called “Tent city,”” the statement noted. “According to their criminal plan, the abovementioned should cause casualties among the peaceful population participating in the protests and the representatives of the law-enforcement agencies,” continued the SSSG.
From the standpoint of the regime change operatives, the bloody provocation would be useful: “in the event of a terrorist act, destructive forces hope that there will be an indiscriminate shooting between the law-enforcement officers and protestors, which will create a solid ground for further civil confrontation.”
The Georgian Dream coalition government has been under mounting pressure since last March, when Tbilisi was plagued by incendiary protests. Demonstrators poured into the streets to protest a proposed law requiring NGOs operating in the country to register as “foreign agents” if they received more than 20% of their revenue from overseas. The law would have clearly hobbled the pro-NATO political network established inside the country by Western interests.
The unrest last March seemed to escalate in direct correlation with condemnations of the legislation by US officials. Most of the groups at the forefront of the protests were recipients of NED funding. And just when the angry mobs seemed ready to storm parliament, in a repeat of the Rose Revolution that dislodged Shevardnadze two decades prior, the government changed course and promptly dropped the foreign agent law.
In December 2022, Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili revealed that the Ukrainian government has repeatedly urged him to open a “second front” in the proxy war against Russia, and that his refusal to do so was not well-received.
The accused plotters may have more cynical, self-interested reasons for removing Georgian Dream from power. After being booted from office in the 2013 presidential election, their boss Mikheil Saakashvili fled Georgia. The next year, Tbilisi filed criminal charges against him, and he was subsequently convicted in absentia for ordering brutal attacks on political rivals, and helping one of his ministers cover up a horrific murder they had personally directed.
For reasons unclear, Saakashvili announced in October 2021 he would be returning to Georgia, in advance of that year’s local elections. He was arrested the same day in Tbilisi, having illegally entered the country hidden in a truck loaded with dairy products. Ever since, he has festered in a Georgian penitentiary, his health rapidly worsening. Despite this, President Salome Zourabichvili has made clear she will “never” pardon the former leader.
A color revolution in Georgia would free Saakashvili, and install a government more willing to consider declaring war on Russia, delivering the second proxy war front long-sought by Kiev and its Western backers.
As Ukraine’s disastrous counteroffensive peters out, with only a few dozen square kilometers and tens of thousands of young men mutilated and dead to show for its efforts, the need to open a new front is more urgent than ever, concludes ‘The Grayzone’.
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