The Georgian capital has been experiencing many nights now of large-scale protests against the implicitly pro-Russian government there and its attempts to emulate Russian despotic ways.

With thousands of protestors out on the streets of Tbilisi, and being harshly met by the local security forces, the scenes are reminiscent of the pro-European and anti-Moscow protests in Kyiv in late 2013 and early 2014 that went under the name of the “Euro-Maidan revolt,” or Revolution of Dignity.

But the huge mass demonstrations in the Georgian capital also recall the huge protests in Minsk and other Belarusian cities after the country’s despot and Moscow lackey Alexander Lukashenko rigged the presidential election in August 200. Maintaining his grip on power, he then proceeded to brutally crack down on the peaceful opponents of his authoritarianism and dependence on the Kremlin’s support.

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Yet today, with Georgians battling to safeguard their pro-European orientation, official Kyiv once again, inexplicably remains silent as has happened in the Belarusian case.

We understand only too well that the Zelensky administration is preoccupied with the genocidal war that Russia is waging against Ukraine, and that Kyiv is desperate to persuade the West to intensify and accelerate its support for Ukraine as it heroically fights for its very existence.

But Zelensky's silence, and those of his immediate entourage, about standing shoulder to shoulder with the Belarusian democratic and pro-Ukrainian opposition against dictator Lukashenko, who has allowed Russia to transform his fiefdom into a staging area against Ukraine, is a growing blemish on his record.

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The moves follow Georgia’s adoption of a Russian-style “foreign influence” law which critics say is meant to stifle dissent against the government.

And now, Zelensky and his team are doing the same in the case of Georgia. Instead of speaking out in support of the pro-European and pro-Ukrainian forces confronting the scarcely veiled pro- Russian line of those in power in Tbilisi today, he and his spokespersons remain conspicuously mute.

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When, for that matter, did Kyiv last express a word of concern for the health of the Georgian political prisoner, ex-Georgian president and later Ukrainian citizen and reformer, Mikheil Saakashvili?

This behavior is perplexing, but also highly unwarranted given what President Zelensky stands for, and embarrassingly, out of place.

Zelensky has ably positioned himself as a champion not only of Ukraine fighting against Russian imperialism, but also in the broader sense as a defender of Western democratic values.

So why pitch this image to the countries allied in the North Atlantic structures and international democratic structures and yet at the same time distance himself from those nearer home facing Russian rapaciousness: Belarus, Georgia, and for that matter even Moldova, which would surely welcome firmer Ukrainian support at this juncture?

Last, but not least, official Kyiv also owes it to the battalions of volunteers from Belarus, Georgia, and even Russia, fighting against despotic Russia alongside Ukraine’s forces, to be consistent and avoid double standards.

Leaders of the democratic forces from Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Russia emphasize that they are supporting Ukraine because whether or not it defeats Russia will determine their prospects too.

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So, it is high time for President Zelensky and his team to face up to their responsibilities in this realm too, otherwise accusations of a warped self-interest and double standards will be invited.

The message here is that if you want to be acknowledged as the leader in the struggle against Russian imperialism, then emphasize that you are engaged in a common, joint, struggle along with your nearby allies against Russian imperial domination. Don’t remain aloof. Instead, demonstrate the leadership required from you in your own backyard.

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