Georgia’s Culture Minister Tea Tsulukiani and Russian President Vladimir Putin are using the same methods in response to criticism. Putin calls Russophobes to his critics, MEP Viola von Cramon said on Thursday, following the accusations of Tsulukiani that the MEP “is allied” with the United National Movement (UNM) opposition party and was interested in the overthrow of the current Georgian government.
Cramon has told Georgian media outlet TV Pirveli, which is dubbed opposition-minded by the authorities, that she was surprised by the comments of Tsulukiani towards her, as after the defeat of the UNM back in 2012 they shared the same views.
“We were both very happy that the National Movement and Misha (referring to former President Mikheil Saaakshvili) were not elected. We were absolutely on one side. I know she (Tsulukiani) is very educated, she worked for years in Europe, for the European Court, she was a supporter of democracy, but now something has happened, I have no idea why she has become so radical and why she is spreading this disinformation,” Cramon stated.
The MEP said that she “has never been a supporter” of the UNM, and that she is not alone in the European Parliament who is critical towards certain decisions of the Georgian Dream authorities.
“Her accusations against me are absolutely disappointing. Tsulukiani uses the same methods as Putin. When Putin is criticized, he calls his critics Russophobes, but this criticism is not directed at the Russian people. We criticize the Russian government. This is also the case for Georgia. We are criticizing not the Georgian people and the country, but the government which represents Georgia, because things are going in the wrong direction on their part," Cramon said, noting that she was surprised why Tsulukiani chose her to criticize.
Tsulukiani, who previously served as the country's Justice Minister, said on May 18 that MEP Cramon and former US Ambassador to Georgia Ian Kelly were working in coordination with the UNM to "overthrow the Georgian Dream government.”
"I mean this small group of foreigners, for example, Ms. Viola von Cramon, a German politician who has become an almost Georgian politician. I think she does not have much to do in her constituency and is directly involved in Georgian politics,” Tsulukiani told Imedi TV.
She added that the UNM was trying to "sell these people to us as Europe itself, but in reality it is not so."