The notion that Georgia’s ruling party, Georgian Dream, is pro-Russian has become a persistent stereotype pushed by the Georgian opposition, experts on the region, and global media. The party’s founder — the billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, who made his fortune in Russia — is also plagued by accusations of holding pro-Kremlin views. 

The rationale for such stereotypes is understandable at first glance. The Georgian authorities constantly accuse Ukraine and the West of attempting to involve Georgia in armed conflict with Russia. After Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Georgia did not sanction Russia and refused to supply weapons to Ukraine, believing that would cross a red line for Moscow, and that Georgia remains as vulnerable to Russian threats as Ukraine.

Tbilisi even banned some Russian opposition figures and journalists from entering the country at a time when Georgia had become a key destination for Russian wartime exiles due to its geographical proximity and migration policy. The Kremlin has openly praised Georgia for its neutral position several since the invasion.

When it comes to action, however, there is no basis for claiming that Tbilisi is acting in Moscow’s interests. The reasons for the tensions within Georgia and Tbilisi’s recent disagreements with Brussels and Kyiv must be sought elsewhere.

The latest allegations of pro-Kremlin sympathies came in March during mass protests against Georgian Dream’s attempt to adopt a law making it possible to stigmatize certain civil society organizations as “foreign agents,” a label that Russia adopted over a decade ago. Protesters against the proposed law lambasted the authorities for pursuing a supposedly pro-Kremlin policy. Yet it is hard to see anything pro-Moscow in the actions of Georgian Dream over the past few years.