Former President of Russia and the Deputy Head of the National Security Council Dimitry Medvedev has claimed that Georgia as a state is of “artificial” nature and that it will inevitably join Russia. Medvedev repeated key points of Vladimir Putin’s 2019 speech in which he, in the best tradition of Kremlin disinformation, manipulated history, claiming that inclusion of Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region into Georgia was “artificial.” Advancing mechanistic vision of the Soviet Union was the hallmark of both of those statements unites the Russian narrative towards its neighbors, including in the context of the ongoing aggression against Ukraine.
Sadly, Georgia did not respond to this disinformation in a credible manner neither in 2019 nor today. Both Medvedev and Putin as well as the entire Kremlin propaganda omit the key question of how Georgia found itself in the Soviet Union that they so worship. They also disregard an inconvenient but fundamentally important international legal document – recognition of the Democratic Republic of Georgia by Soviet Russia on May 7, 1920, also known as the Treaty of Moscow.
With this international treaty from which Russia has never withdrawn, Moscow not only recognized the Georgian sovereignty but also its borders, including Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region. By the time of the Soviet Russian invasion of the Democratic Republic of Georgia on February 11, 1921 Georgia was an independent democratic republic that had achieved full-fledged international recognition. Its legitimate government exercised the country’s national sovereignty on its whole territory not with the help of Russia but despite its aggressive policy. Georgia was absorbed into the Soviet Union against the will of its people and as a result of a war of aggression launched upon Joseph Stalin’s initiative in breach of the treaty of May 7, 1920. It was as a result of this war and the subsequent illegal occupation of Georgia that its democratically-elected government was forced to leave the country.
Weaponization of the soviet totalitarian history is at the heart of the Russian information warfare and drives its aggression towards neighbors. Debunking that disinformation in a frontal and uncompromising manner is necessary to reduce likelihood of further Russian aggression.