Very Dark Day for Georgia

What a very dark day for Georgia! Its Parliament passed the so called „Agent Law“, despite weeks of daily demonstrations with more than 200.000 participants. It overruled the veto of the President Salome Zurabishvili, who was giving the demonstrators a voice.
Mostly young people, but also many of those, who still remember the Soviet Union and have lived under their ruling.
According to the new law, NGOs with more than 20% foreign money need to register as foreign agents. According to the Government, the law will establish transparency. But easily, it could be transformed into an instrument of power, limiting a democratic development and free media.
But by wording and by contents, it becomes very clear and transparent, that the law originates in Russia.
The law comes at at time, when Georgia has just been granted the candidate status for EU membership (Dec.2023). It had been a long debate whether or not the status should be granted.

Georgians have struggled

For many months Georgian people have struggled to move politically closer to the EU. They have been in the street to show their will. One year ago, their were successful in preventing the „Agent law“ from being passed by the Government.
Many friends in Georgia told me about their success in the still young democracy. But even then they were suspicious that the law will be back after some time. These issues come suddenly and from under earth, people said.
Now, hopes are on President Salomé Zurabishvili to use her veto to stop the law. But even then, the Government could overrule the veto.

Occupation and frustration

According so several sources, 80% of the population are opposed to the new law. They understand that oligarch Ivaniashvili, a Georgian with close ties to Russia, is pulling strings behind the curtain, forcing parties to go where they did not want to be, and where voters did not mean them to be. This frustrates those deeply, who have engaged themselves in improving politics in civil society in Georgia.
It also deeply frustrates those, who are directly or indirectly effected by the war in 2008 – Russia‘s occupation of 20% of Georgia‘s territory – and that is… all Georgians.

Geopolitics – chessboard Caucasus

Looking at geopolitics, the law comes at a time when the great powers are fighting over influence spheres and power. The Caucasus has been in the focus for years, or even centuries in history.
Nowadays, the struggle is about energy lines between Asia and Europe, and grand trade routes between China and Europe. Since Russia‘s war in Ukraine, the middle corridor of the new Silk Road via the Caucasus is extremely busy.

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