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    Russian NGOs Should Strengthen Presence in Georgia to Counter US Influence

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    Russian nongovernmental organizations should strengthen their presence in Georgia to provide more understanding into the benefits of cooperating with Moscow.

    MOSCOW, November 12 (RIA Novosti) — Russian nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) should beef up their presence in the post-Soviet republic of Georgia to provide more insight into the benefits of cooperating with Moscow, Archil Chkoidze, the leader of Georgia's Eurasian Choice coalition said Wednesday.

    "Russia should start real work here [in Georgia], involving similar projects that the United States is implementing in Georgia," Chkoidze said at a video conference held Wednesday at the International Information Agency Rossiya Segodnya, highlighting that Moscow has widespread support among the Georgian people.

    Chkoidze stressed that many US organizations are working in Georgia promoting American values and strengthening Washington's influence there.

    "But even the most pro-American organizations such as USAID cannot conceal that the majority of the Georgian people — 70-75 percent — want to restore brotherly relations with Russia," Chkoidze said.

    He pointed out that Georgians had little information about what, for instance, the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) is.

    The EEU is a union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan that will come into effect in 2015. It commits the three economies to lifting trade barriers, which will result in the creation of the largest common market among post-Soviet nations.

    "But there is little information about it, no websites, no organizations not only in the Georgian language, but even in Russian," Archil Chkoidze said.

    He urged Russia to do more in terms of informing the Georgian population about what partnership with Russia means.

    "A weak Georgia next to the Russian border is more beneficial for the United States so that it can start here a similar war that is raging in Ukraine," Chkoidze said.

    Relations between Russia and Georgia hit rock bottom following the 2008 military conflict in South Ossetia and Moscow's subsequent recognition of two Georgian breakaway regions.

    A new Georgian government, formed in 2012, said better relations with Russia were one of its key priorities. However, the two nations have not resumed diplomatic relations yet.


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