“Georgian Dream’s” Rhetoric is in Agreement with Pro-Russian Groups
On May 10, 2023, the President of Russia Vladimir Putin issued a decree canceling the visa regime and the ban on direct flights for Georgian citizens from May 15. The openly pro-Russian far-right groups operating in Georgia reacted positively to Russia's decision.

Emphasizing the importance of close communication with Russia, especially creating a myth of economic prosperity by restoring direct flights or canceling the visa-free regime, is the pro-Russian violent group "Conservative Movement/Alt-Info’s" prime tool of political speculation. Since its foundation, the group's leaders have openly stated that their goal is to normalize relations with Russia, which they have repeatedly cited as the main reason for their „official visits” to Russia.

The leader of the violent political group "Conservative Movement/Alt-Info" Konstantine Morgoshia considers the decision of the Russian President to establish a visa-free regime with Georgia as a successful result of his own political activism. In a Facebook post published on May 10, Morgoshiya wrote: "This victory was achieved with our work and unity!" According to him, the "Conservative Movement" fulfilled all three political promises it made: it helped to cancel the visa-free regime with Russia, as well as restore direct flights and trade relations.

Shota Martinenko, another leader of the group, also considers the visa-free regime with Russia to be an achievement of the "Conservative Movement/Alt-Info". His response was openly pro-Russian and anti-Western: "A visa-free regime has been established with Russia! It’s important both for Georgia's economy and for improving relations with Russia to gain greater political and economic independence from the West. The threat effect from the expected refusal of the candidate status by Europe and possible cancellation of the visa-free regime, i.e. the threat of Western revenge, is decreasing."

Giorgi Kardava, the chairman of "Conservative Movement/Alt-Info" also assessed Putin's decision as an important achievement of conservative forces. In the May 10 broadcast of  "Alt-Info" program "Alt-Analytics" Kardava said: "It is thanks to [us] that Russia saw all is not lost in relation to Georgia, and there’s a force that can bring the country out of the crisis caused by liberalization."
Government representatives’ response to the Russian President’s decree regarding the introduction of a visa-free regime with Georgia has been positive. Foreign Minister Ilia Darchiashvili noted: from a humanitarian perspective, Moscow's decision "would be a welcomed one for any responsible government."

Irakli Kobakhidze, the Chairman of the "Georgian Dream" party, repeated the Kremlin forces’ message and tried to present the Russian government’s decision as a positive by stressing the issues of economic well-being: "What we saw today is the lifting of the sanction, that is, a certain punishment was imposed on the citizens of Georgia, up to a million people who were potential victims of it and in the end, this sanction was lifted today."

While the violent political group "Conservative Movement/Alt-Info" directly and openly declares its pro-Russian sentiments and presents the Russian President's decree as its own achievement, "Georgian Dream" is trying to express its satisfaction with the restoration of economic cooperation with Russia subtly, feeding its public false information about the aforementioned decision having no impact on Georgia's chances for European integration.

The Democracy Research Institute believes that, as Georgia’s EU candidate status is pending, the strengthening of Russian influence is an important barrier to the country's European integration, and all political speculations about the positive effect of the normalization of economic relations with Russia is an attempt to mislead the public.