In the South Caucasus, Georgia has been solidly under the control of the system that has switched between Mikheil Saakashvili’s gang and Bidzina Ivanashvili’s gang but that has come under pressure like never before because of one hydro power project by a Turkish firm.
The Namakhvani hydro power project (HPP), if it gets fully constructed would be one of the biggest in Georgia. The reservoir for this dam is about 610 hectares. In Tskaltubo and Tsageri the flood risks would be astronomically high and with that the villages, the biodiversity, the cultural heritage, and parts of the important wine industry would be destroyed.
This dam also does absolutely horribly when it comes to earthquakes which are quite common in the South Caucasus region. In the event of any significant earthquake which causes the dam to break, it would flood Georgia’s second biggest city Kutaisi. Institute of Earth Sciences and the National Seismic Monitoring Centre seismologists tried to alert the Prime Minister about the earthquake risks and the fact it hasn’t gone through the proper studies on its safety.
The company didn’t have to go through the normal process which requires a number of studies on its safety and environmental quality. to be conducted.
The investor funding this disastrous Enka Renewables’ shareholders, Clean Energy built a large dam in the past in Georgia and the tunnel collapsed.
Of course as well, there has been no cost benefit analysis to the Namakhvani Hydro Power Project by the Government. Can’t exactly be surprised by the fact they’d cover up the fact the project would bring very little benefit if any at all to Georgians.
Turkey’s Ambassador in Tbilisi has reacted to the protests from ordinary Georgians, many of whom distrust Turkey for good reason, and basically implied that foreign forces were trying to sabotage the relationship between Tbilisi and Ankara.
The narrative I have read says that we should kick out ENKA [because] it is Turkish. This is not Georgian thinking. It is a very open game. Georgia has to buy electricity from its two neighbors, predominantly. With Turkey, Georgia has a seasonal exchange, it buys and then it sells, and also with Azerbaijan. But there is an increase [in consumption] and nobody’s talking about energy market reform in Georgia. I’m also suggesting that Georgian experts must study what the energy sector needs. The reality is that you need more energy.
I have read some leftist politicians, changing narratives quickly, saying something, and then after getting an answer, they go to another narrative. I want to find out what is the bottom line of this discussion. Some of the people say that the Turkish Ambassador is blaming them for being xenophobic, then I read in their Facebook, or in this campaign, that it becomes again about Turkey and how Turkey has designs for Georgia. And I believe [there is] some systemic manipulation of information space in Georgia, and this is not only in Namakhvani. I have seen all these discussions which started a long time ago now coming to the surface. In Adjara, it had been going on for a long while, and I have complained about this formally too. I said, please, as the Government of Georgia, take your precautions, because there are foreign manipulations in your territory, which are targeting Turkish-Georgian relations.
The implication of course by the Ambassador is that countries such as Iran and the Russian occupant are trying to target and destroy Georgia’s relationship with Turkey. While Russia no doubt is happy when there is more friction between Tbilisi and Ankara, the more immediate fear is Georgia getting closer to Iran.
Of course the Ambassador is lying about the protests and the groups involved in the protests but the one she fears most is the religious nationalist Georgian Idea party. The Georgian Idea party takes a critical view of both the West who did nothing for Georgia in the war and looked the other way when “Israel” gave Georgian defense codes to the Russian occupier as well as the Russian occupier.
The protests have only continued to grow despite the regime’s attempts at repression and despite the attempts by the government to subvert the protests. The government failed to anticipate when people such as Guram Palavandishvili from Georgian Idea called out specific subversives that the response would be so massive against the subversives.
Now of course with that being said, it is no guarantee which of the factions opposing this monstrosity will triumph or if they all come together or not. President Erdogan tends to be much more afraid of the organized opponents of Turkey’s actions than he does about hypotheticals down the line.
While Georgian Idea is without question rising, one should not rule out the very likely possibility that certain Bishops in the Georgian Orthodox Church or Priests could get a lot more politically involved and rally their own support for change and the removal of the system. It remains to be seen what prominent activists like Varlam Goletiani will do down the line, whether he and other activists against the construction of the dam may create their own party, join with other factions, its unclear.
The system is in panic about the protests and with the rise of the religious and nationalist forces in the country and with God on their side the triumph is only a matter of time.
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