News / Europe

    Thousands in Georgia Protest Gazprom Deal

    Supporters of the main opposition party wear Georgian national flags during a protest against buying gas from Russia's state-controlled Gazprom, in Tbilisi, Georgia, March 6, 2016.
    Supporters of the main opposition party wear Georgian national flags during a protest against buying gas from Russia's state-controlled Gazprom, in Tbilisi, Georgia, March 6, 2016.
    VOA News

    Thousands of people protested negotiations between the Georgian government and Russia's state-owned energy giant, Gazprom, Sunday in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi.

    The demonstrators formed a nearly 7-kilometer (4-mile) human chain, stretching from the Russian Embassy to the government headquarters.

    The protesters said they feared buying gas from Gazprom would make Georgia dependent on Russia.

    The rally was organized by former President Mikheil Saakashvili's pro-Western United National Movement party (UNM), which accuses Moscow of using Gazprom in a bid to prevent Georgia from forging closer ties with the West.

    Azerbaijan deal

    The government said Friday that it had signed a deal with neighboring Azerbaijan to increase gas supplies enough to fully cover Georgian demand.

    However, opposition leader in parliament David Bakradze said Georgian officials "tried to deceive us by saying it was not technically possible to increase gas supplies from Azerbaijan."

    "The Georgian society will not allow this government to undermine the country's energy security," the senior UNM lawmaker said.

    Energy Minister Kakha Kaladze said Saturday that officials had abandoned the plan to buy natural gas from Russia after it had secured a deal with Azerbaijan to purchase additional volumes of gas.

    Technical issues

    Previously, Kaladze had justified the negotiations with Gazprom by saying Azerbaijan didn't have the technical ability to supply more gas. But he said those problems had been overcome.

    Bakradze said protesters had "forced the government to do everything possible to receive additional fuel from Azerbaijan. ... We will not allow Georgia to be under Russia's control."

    Russia and Georgia fought a brief war in August 2008 over the two Moscow-backed breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

    Some material for this report came from RFE/RL, AP and AFP.

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    Comment Sorting
    by: Sergi0s from: Georgia
    March 08, 2016 3:03 AM
    "Money has no smell" -- used to say Misha The Snot every time he granted a piece of national business to the Russians.

    by: ties from: USA
    March 07, 2016 12:51 PM
    Looks like the CIA must be there.... Just like every where.... The corporate killers running America is about over the only question is the American people going to end the criminals or will other countries do it..... America is close to getting a true American leader Trump who will not bailout corporate America and there criminal killers...If the world removes the criminals instead of the American people America will look like Iraq.

    America economy is a thing of the past and will soon fall... But if the people remove the killer corporate money loving criminals America will have help and a soft landing.... Trump is our only choice.....All counties are tired of Corporate America and there CIA and controlled media destroying world peace and economy.... Hillary who voted for corporate America bailout both in the Bush and Obama area voted for corporate America and not the people.... Hillary for prison 2016

    by: John
    March 07, 2016 8:35 AM
    The obvious solution for Georgia is to obtain its electricity from nukes. Unfortunately the cheapest and easiest way to get nukes is to buy them from Russia. Georgia could, however, buy the uranium on the world market once the nukes were built.

    by: Anonymous
    March 06, 2016 8:07 PM
    Russia has saved Georgia from savage Turks many times.

    The other fact is that Azerbaijan acts as Russia demands it to.

    So it's better for Georgia to have gas from Russia than from Azerbaijan or other countries across the Caspian sea.
    In Response

    by: 558905ties from: USA
    March 07, 2016 12:55 PM
    Russia saved Georgia from America and the EU and NATO in 2008 when Ossetia was attacked by American lead Georgian forces with paid fighters from all of the EU countries and Ukraine... Russia and Chechen military saved then.... Reported the opposite in American media

    by: Ingush from: Ingushetia
    March 06, 2016 5:18 PM
    Good job Georgians, Ingushetia with you. Do not get yourself into russian slavery. Better with the West, its not perfect but more free than russian slave holding state.
    In Response

    by: Anonymous
    March 08, 2016 2:53 AM
    Nowadays No one remember how many times Russia helped Europe and other countries such as Ukraine . Ukrainians asking to be the part of Russia and pray to save them from Poland, Litva . It' s better for The USA then all the world afraid and depend from The USA.
    In Response

    by: Anonymous
    March 07, 2016 12:10 PM
    Don't get too excited. Russia is interested in saving Christians and the culture, where the West is interested in just the money and the business. The West wants Georgia to get a leverage on Russia, the moment the West doesn't need that leverage and the business, the West will toss away Georgia like a dirty piece of cloth.
    In Response

    by: Anonymous
    March 07, 2016 9:42 AM
    I am with you, Ingush!!! Good comment!

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