The Georgian Association Statement Regarding the Sale of the Mistral Helicopter Carrier to Russia

On Monday, February 8, 2010, Jacques de Lajugie, the head of international sales at the French Defense Ministrys weapons production agency (Direction Gnrale pour l’Armement or DGA), confirmed that the French government agreed to sell Russia one Mistral-class advanced amphibious helicopter carrier and is considering a request for three more.

Possession of this state-of-the-art assault ship will significantly increase Russias force projection capabilities in the Baltic and the Black Seas, which will considerably undermine the security of the US and NATO allies in the region. Russias willingness to use the Mistral assault ship against Georgia is evident in the remarks of Admiral Vladimir Visotskiy, the commander-in-chief of the Russian Navy, who in September of last year noted that possession of this warship during the war with Georgia in 2008 would have allowed the Black Sea Fleet to accomplish its military objectives in forty minutes. In the conflict in August last year [against Georgia], a ship like that would have allowed the [Russian] Black Sea Fleet to accomplish its mission in 40 minutes, not 26 hours which is how long it took us [to land the troops ashore] (Interfax, September 11, 15).

The Mistral sale marks the first time a NATO country has willingly transferred to Russia an advanced offensive weapons platform. This is alarming given that the Kremlins recently released national military doctrine explicitly states that NATOs eastward expansion is the main external military threat to the Russian Federation. The French decision threatens NATO alliance solidarity and ignores Eastern European members, who have repeatedly warned against the Mistral sale.

The U.S. Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, during his recent visit to Paris expressed Washingtons concerns over the Mistral sale to his French counterpart, Herv Morin, but with little result. Unfortunately the interests of the French manufacturer, DCNS, based at the shipyards in Saint-Nazaire, prevailed over much more significant geopolitical considerations. This decision sets a precedent for other arms producers in Western Europe, who will now see Russia as a lucrative market for advanced naval military technology.

The Georgian Association in the United Sates, Inc. strongly protests the French governments decision to transfer the Mistral-class amphibious assault ship to Russia and calls on the United States Government to use all its diplomatic power to halt the sale. The Georgian Association also calls on the US government for pro-active Eastern European/Black Sea/Caspian policy to increase security and boost the regional cooperation.

Sincerely,
The Georgian Association in the United States

School of Georgian Language and Culture

The Georgian Association is planning to establish a school of Georgian Language and Culture (GLC) for children living in the greater Washington D.C. region. GLC will help children learn/improve Georgian language skills, and get acquainted with Georgian literature, history and traditions.

As a first step, the Georgian Association is collecting information about potential students (number of children, age groups, current level of language skills, etc.). This will help us determine the needs of children, and design programs that will best serve their needs.

Please help us gather the aforementioned information by filling out a brief survey. Families with children 3 years and older are welcome to participate. If you have questions feel free to contact us. Please send your completed questionnaires to georgianassociation@gmail.com.

Click here to fill out the survey.

The Georgian Association Statement on the Continued Russian Occupation of Georgian Territories

On August 8, 2009 the Georgian Association organizied a peaceful protest by the Russian Embassy to remember the victims of the Russian military attacks on Georgia one year ago.

In August 2008, in violation of the U.N. Charter, the Russian government invaded and occupied the sovereign Georgian territory. Russian forces committed and encouraged human rights violations, including ethnic cleansing against people of Georgian descent in the occupied territories. Under no circumstances should such actions be tolerated by the international community.

The Georgian Association in the United States, Inc. calls on the United States Government to continue its policy of open support for Georgias territorial integrity in its internationally recognized borders, which include Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The United States must act, and demand withdrawal of Russian occupational forces from Georgia.

 The limited EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia, which oversees the August 12, 2008 peace agreement brokered between Georgia and Russia by French President Sarkozy, is now the only security mechanism on the ground. We urge the United States to support the strengthening of this mechanism. The EU Monitoring Mission should be enlarged and must be allowed to work inside the Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions of Georgia. This will enhance the security of local populations and help prevent further provocations.

The Georgian Association Plans an Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill

The Central and East European Coalition (CEEC), of which the Georgian Association is a member, will host a policy reception at the US Senate on March 25, 2009. The Georgian Association is a co-sponsor of this important event that commemorates NATO and its enlargement. There will be presentations by Members of Congress and current and past administration officials who support strengthening NATO and the U.S. relations with Central and Eastern European countries.

In conjunction with this event, the Association is arranging a series of advocacy meetings with members of Congress who represent districts with Georgian-American constituents. We will meet with the co-chair of the Congressional Georgia Caucus, Representative Allyson Schwartz (PA), and with Representative Ed Royce (CA). Also, the Association is arranging a meeting with Representative Weiner from New York for our members who have expressed interest in meeting with them. If you wish to participate in the March 25 advocacy meetings on Capitol Hill please let us know and we will try to set up a meeting for you with your state Representative. These meetings will provide an opportunity for you to educate Members of Congress and their staff about Geopolitial issues related to Georgia, and also, to encourage them to join the Congressional Georgia Caucus.

This is the first advocacy effort initiated by the Association in which our members can play an active role. We plan to organize similar meetings in May 2009.

If you wish to participate please contact us at georgianassociation@gmail.com, and provide your name, state of residence, and the name of the Representative with whom you wish to meet.

2009-03-29

CEEC Commemorates Nato Enlargement And Supports Open Door Policy.

Washington, DC On Wednesday, March 25, 2009, the Central and Eastern European Coalition(CEEC), of which the Georgian Association is a member, hosted a policy reception on CapitolHill to honor the NATO enlargement of 1999 and 2004, and to support a continued open door policy.

CEEC comprises 18 national membership organizations representing more than 20 million Americans who trace their heritage to Central and East Europe. The program of Wednesday’s reception featured Senator Mikulski and Senator Voinovich, Mr.Zbigniew Brzezinski, Mr. Kurt Volker, the current U.S. Ambassador to NATO, and Mr. Michael Hatzel, a Senior Fellow at SAIS and former Senior Staff member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. U.S. Senators expressed their support for continued NATO open door policy, and indicated their willingness to fight for it. Mr. Volker highlighted the importance of maintaining an open door policy. In his view, NATO has become a stronger alliance by opening doors to new members. Mr. Brzezinski stated that it is in the interest of both the United States and Europe that Central and East European countries remain genuinely free. He advised countries who wish to become members of NATO one day to work toward membership in the European Union to keep this important alliance strong. Dr. Brzezinski emphasized that Ukraine and Georgia must eventually become NATO members and contribute to a collective European security, as well as benefit from this membership for their own security.

The Georgian Association hopes that NATO leaders will fully implement the 2008 Bucharest Summit decision with respect to Ukraine and Georgia, and will provide a clear road map for their eventual membership in the Alliance.

The Georgian Association in the United States of America (GA) is the oldest nonpartisan nationwide membership organization of Georgian-Americans and friends of Georgia. It strives to strengthen and support the Georgian-American community on a national level, and supports an independent, democratic and prosperous Georgia.

Documentary Film about Vachtang “Botso” Korisheli

An American film crew is working on a production of a feature-length, non-profit documentary film on the life and legacy of Vachtang “Botso” Korisheli. Mr. Korisheli is a Georgian composer, teacher and sculptor who lives in California.

The filmmakers will finish the production of “BOTSO: The Passion of Music, The Passion of Art” by the end of 2008. The documentary will explore the life and philosophy of Botso Korisheli. Also, it will showcase life in Georgia and the Georgian culture.

For more information about Mr. Korisheli and this film, please visit www.aspectstudios.com/botso.

Research Georgian Biographies Online

The online Dictionary of the Georgian National Biography is the first English-language compilation of some 400 biographies of individuals, whose lives have influenced the Georgian culture and history. This resource provides information about people of every ethnic background, who contributed to the cultural diversity of the Georgian society. You may access this resource at http://www.georgianbiography.com

Association Forms Working Groups

The Georgian Association has formed Advocacy, Press and Education working groups. Volunteers who kindly agree to participate in these groups will advocate for Georgian issues with the United States government and other relevant organizations, ensure fair coverage of Georgian issues in the press, and build a framework to help preserve the Georgian language and culture in the U.S.

Soon, the Association will issue a formal position paper on key issues and priorities important to the Georgian community in the U.S. and the organization as well. Support for territorial integrity of Georgia and stability in the Caucasus will be top priorities.

A coordinator will lead and manage activities of each working group. We are still looking for enthusiastic volunteers. If you would like to join any of the above-mentioned groups, please contact us. For logistical reasons, it is easier to participate in these efforts if you live in the Greater Washington area. However, there will be many opportunities to contribute from afar. Therefore, if you live in a different state and are interested in helping, please let us know.

Russia Continues Bombing Georgia

 

  • Georgias existence is under attack by an authoritarian and imperial Russia that has flouted international law by bombing the country, slaughtering civilians and occupying its territory. This is a situation that the West has encountered numerous times in the past in Czechoslovakia in 1938 and 1968, in Hungary in 1956 and in Afghanistan in 1979. We have seen the failure of appeasement before, and while international condemnations of Russia have proliferated, they will not prevent further dominoes from falling. Concrete actions must be taken.

    If Russia fails to cooperate with calls for an immediate ceasefire and withdrawal of its troops from Georgia, we urge the United Nations, United States, European Union and NATO to consider taking the following actions to prevent further aggression and preserve global stability:

  • Immediately Recall US Ambassador to Russia
  • Grant Georgia MAP for NATO
  • Remove Russia from the G-8
  • Strip the 2014 Sochi Olympics from Russia
  • Freeze Russian assets abroad
  • Enact economic sanctions on Russia
  • Continue to block Russian membership in the WTO
    This is a decisive moment for the West and the world more broadly. The Georgian Association in the United States hopes that the global community clearly recognizes the danger to its stability that Russian actions present.

    Georgian Association in the United States of America, Inc.

 

Georgia Under Attack

 

  • Georgia is under attack by an authoritarian power that refuses to recognize international law. This is a situation that Western powers have encountered many times before in Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Afghanistan. The US must take the lead in fiercely condemning Russian aggression, which is a threat not only for Georgian independence but for many other Russian neighbors such as Ukraine and the Baltic states where Russia also has territorial disputes. The issue before the world community not only concerns Georgian democracy and respect for national sovereignty, but how to control the growth of a dangerous imperial and authoritarian regime in Russia. Should Russia pursue its war with impunity, we can expect continuing instability in the Caucasus for decades to come. No new democracy will be safe or able to thrive on Russia’s borders.

    This is a decisive moment for Western policy toward Russia. Do we allow a Russian military victory in Georgia which will reinforce Russian militarism and further weaken its democratic forces (the Russian media is already a propaganda machine for the state), or do we take the proper action that will reinforce democracy and international law.

    The Georgian Association appeals to the US government to:

  • Demand the immediate withdrawal of Russian troops from Georgia from Russia
  • To take the diplomatic lead and dispatch US envoys to the EU, Russia and Georgia to coordinate international action
  • To demand an immediate ceasefire and the end of civilian targeting by Russian planes
  • The establishment of a new international peace keeping regime in South Ossetia to replace the failed Joint Control Commission controlled by Russia. If Russia fails to cooperate and continues bombing of Georgia and occupation of the parts of its territory, the international community must take the appropriate action including measures to ensure the diplomatic isolation of Russia. This is a decisive moment for Western powers and the Georgian Association hopes that both the USA and EU clearly recognize the danger to political stability in Europe that Russian actions present.

    . The Georgian Association in the USA Inc.