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Why Georgia’s Proposed Foreign Agents Law Mirrors Russia’s Authoritarian Tactics

The combination of these factors allows us to say unequivocally – that is why this law is Russian.
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The Red Flags of a Restrictive Law

One of the biggest red flags is the law’s inherent ambiguity. It leaves crucial aspects undefined, creating a breeding ground for misuse. Terms like “monitoring procedures” lack clear guidelines, potentially allowing for extended computer seizures and arbitrary fines for minor “errors” in paperwork. This creates a chilling effect, where organizations can be financially strangled or hampered by lengthy investigations for simply receiving foreign funding.

A Law Built for Repression, Not Transparency

Effective foreign agent laws require a strong, independent judiciary. However, in Georgia’s current political climate, where the courts are seen as beholden to the ruling party, the law empowers the government to target NGOs and media outlets critical of its policies. This undermines transparency and fosters an environment of self-censorship.

The Recipe for a One-Party State

The foreign agents law thrives in environments where power remains concentrated in the hands of a few. In Georgia, where concerns exist about democratic backsliding, this law becomes a tool for the ruling party to suppress opposition. A healthy democracy requires a change of power through free and fair elections, not the silencing of dissenting voices.

The “Anaconda’s” Embrace: A Shadow from Russia

The nickname of Bidzina Ivanishvili, Georgia’s powerful oligarch and founder of “Georgian Dream,” is “The Anaconda.” This moniker evokes memories of his business dealings in Russia. The proposed law, with its echoes of Russian tactics, raises legitimate concerns that Georgia is heading down an authoritarian path similar to its northern neighbor.

The Fight for Georgia’s Democratic Future

The international community has voiced its opposition to the law, highlighting its incompatibility with Georgia’s aspirations to join the European Union. The widespread protests within Georgia demonstrate a strong public resistance to this legislation. The fate of this law will determine whether Georgia continues on its path towards a democratic future or succumbs to the allure of authoritarian control.

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