During the work on the new election law, the diplomats of the friendly countries of Georgia intervened in the process due to the extreme aggravation of the confrontation between the ruling party of Georgia and the opposition and helped the parties to reach a consensus. Through the mediation of diplomats, an agreement was reached on March 8, 2020, which establishes the electoral rules in Georgia that are similar to proportional system. The Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany, Mr. Hubert Knirsch, contributed greatly towards establishing relatively fair electoral environment in Georgia.
For the final adoption of the new electoral system, it was necessary to approve the constitutional amendments in three readings. Some parties, including the United National Movement and European Georgia, have said they would support constitutional reform only if the government released Mr. Giorgi Rurua from prison (Giorgi Rurua is the brother of late member of UNM –Nika Rurua, who is charged with illegal possession and carrying of a weapon). There was a danger that the agreement reached as a result of efforts during several months, which would create a better political environment in the country, would fail. However, Ambassador Hubert Knirsch reminded the parties: “Mr. Rurua is not mentioned in the March 8th agreement, it is clear and everyone can read it.” In his measured statement, the German diplomat made it clear that there were no longer enough arguments to compromise the electoral system and thus saved the agreement reached.
Apparently, the ambassador’s statement contradicted the plan of the above-mentioned political forces and the official representative of the Federal Republic of Germany was openly attacked. The attackers said: “This is an ambassador funded by Ivanishvili’s regime,” “The infamous German ambassador is working on his own business,” “I sympathize with him, how many times he can make a blunder, I don’t know. It’s like being lost in translation … Sometimes the diplomats lack an experience and they get confused.”
This political parties were supported by the media affiliated with them: Tabula, whose journalists shamelessly falsified an interview given by the ambassador a few months ago, changed the content of the text and published it through the social network.
And non-governmental organizations traditionally affiliated with these parties, which call themselves the vanguard of the fight against anti-Western propaganda and misinformation, have chosen to remain silent (to put it mildly).
The attack on Hubert Knirsch once again showed us the true face of some Georgian political parties and the media and NGOs associated with them. They do not shy away from discrediting opponents, distorting facts, slandering them, or turning a blind eye to them.
Developments have once again revealed the real attitude of these groups towards the West. Although they appear to be committed to Western (and Euro-Atlantic) values, they are in fact trying to undermine Western and, in particular, European countries’ efforts on behalf of Georgia.
The European Union (EU) has condemned the actions of some politicians and journalists involved in the campaign to discredit the German ambassador:” We condemn the attacks of certain political actors and media outlets against our colleague, Hubert Knirsch, the Ambassador of Germany. All actors supporting the democratic and European path of Georgia should refrain from accusations of a disrespectful nature and uphold the human dignity of everybody who is active in public life.” The US and British Ambassadors expressed solidarity with the German Ambassador.
There are enough people in Georgia who know well the work of the German Ambassador, Mr. Knirsch. We know that he has been serving in the German Foreign Ministry for thirty years. It is noteworthy that the career diplomat also has long experience of working in Warsaw and Moscow, therefore, he is well aware of the main difficulties of post-communist societies. It is noteworthy that Hubert Knirsch was for a long time leading the office of the first Federal President of the reunited Germany, legendary European leader- Richard von Weizsäcker. We are glad that for the first time in many years, the representative of the leading EU state in Georgia is a figure of this rank, which clearly indicates the growing importance of our country in German foreign policy.
A few months after Mr. Knirsch was appointed an Ambassador, the President of Germany, Mr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier, visited Tbilisi. After the President’s visit to Georgia, the Georgian-German cultural-educational and economic relations became even more intense and many new projects or initiatives were laid. Mr. Knirsch has spared no effort to ensure that the talks held by Germany’s leader in Georgia were productive, for which he deserves sincere thanks from the Georgian people.
Mr. Ambassador is distinguished by his extensive education, deep humanity, and personal sophistication. Accusing him of being inexperienced or dishonest is a brazenness of demagogues, and a deliberate lie.
On behalf of many citizens of Georgia, we once again thank Mr. Knirsch- this truly respected diplomat -for taking to the heart our country’s fate.
Naira Gelashvili – Writer; Germanist
Lela Ghaprindashvili – Philosopher; Professor of TSU
Levan Bregadze – Doctor of Philology
Natela Sakhokia – Director of Institute for Strategic Studies
Giorgi Lobzhanidze – Orientalist; Professor of TSU
Nugzar Papuashvili – Historian of Religion; Professor of Orbeliani University
Asmat Parjiani – Germanist; Translator
David Adeishvili – Doctor of Economics
Levan Lortkiphanidze – Political Scientist
Ivane Abramashvili – Conflictologist
Lali Madzgharashvili – Biophysicist
July 3, 2020