Germany's leading daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung claims that Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili was not invited to the NATO summit in Vilnius after he accused NATO of being "one of the main causes" of the war in Ukraine. He was, the Alliance told the prime minister, “Not a welcome guest".
The article, titled "Why Georgia and NATO are politically drifting apart", begins by discussing the letter from the speaker of the Georgian parliament to the NATO summit, in which Shalva Papuashvili speaks of NATO's "unfair treatment" of Georgia.
In his open letter, Mr Papuashvili claims that "alienating Georgia from NATO at this historic moment, simply because of different political tastes, is a mistake that the future will not forgive".
The German publication writes that while Ukraine is moving closer to NATO, Georgia and the defense alliance are moving further apart politically.
"This process, which has been underway for a long time, was not reversed by Russia's attack on Ukraine a year ago, but rather accelerated," writes the daily.
FAZ describes the absence of Georgia's prime minister at the summit as a "symptom" of Georgia drifting away from the Alliance.
"Never before has Garibashvili so clearly repeated the Russian version of how the conflict began. But this was not a mistake. After the attack on Ukraine, the Georgian government is even more open to anti-Western propaganda. The Georgian government claims that the West, Ukraine, and the opposition want to open a second front against Russia in Georgia," the publication says.
At the same time, FAZ says the Georgian government is giving far-right groups with ties to Russia the opportunity to "portray the West as a center of moral decay," mentioning violent attacks on the LGBT community in Georgia, which it says "the security forces have failed to stop in recent years” while political leaders have "expressed sympathy for the attackers".
When Western-oriented opposition forces protest these attacks, "the pro-government media accuse them of wanting to destroy traditional Georgian culture and values".
"And the Kremlin rewards this policy: it recently allowed direct flights between Georgia and Russia, which were canceled after mass anti-Russian demonstrations in Tbilisi in 2019," says FAZ.
"Georgia has been moving towards an authoritarian system for years. This became clear at the beginning of the year when the parliament adopted a law on 'foreign agents' modeled on repressive Russian legislation."
After the law's failure to pass, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung says, "the government has not given up its goal of putting pressure on civil society and opposition parties before next year's parliamentary elections.