Press "Enter" to skip to content

Biden admin deeply concerned over Georgia’s push for Russian-inspired ‘foreign agents law’

The Biden administration expressed deep concern Friday that Georgia’s government is pursuing another push for a Russian-inspired law criticized as targeting civil society groups, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and free speech.

The U.S. is “deeply concerned” by the Georgian Parliament’s introduction of a reworked copy of last year’s “foreign agents law,” which requires NGOs and civil society groups receiving funding from international sources to register as foreign agents, State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said in a statement.

“The draft legislation poses a threat to civil society organizations whose work benefits the lives of everyday citizens of Georgia in areas such as health, education, and social support,” Miller said.

“It undermines Georgia’s commitment to Euro-Atlantic integration and risks pulling Georgia off its European path. We have made these concerns clear to the Georgian government.”

On April 3, Georgia’s ruling parliamentary party, Georgian Dream, said it was reintroducing its 2023 foreign agents law, renamed as “On Transparency of Foreign Influence.” It had withdrawn the law the previous year amid domestic and international outcries. 

Georgian Dream said the law is aimed at compelling transparency on funding for NGOs, specifically those it deems as “supporting revolutionary processes” and “artificial attempts to cause unrest in the country.”

The draft law is based on the same text as 2023’s “Foreign Agents” law, Georgian Dream said in a statement, with one difference: defining what they view as foreign agents as an “organization pursuing the interests of a foreign power.”

Georgia, which has two separate territories under Russian occupation since 2008, is viewed as in the crosshairs of Russia’s expansionist goals, alongside the war in Ukraine. The Georgian government, ruled by the pro-Russian Georgian Dream party, is walking a fine line between keeping close ties with Moscow, even as it takes step to join the European Union, an effort viewed as supported by the majority of the population.

The European Union said Thursday the reintroduction of the foreign agents law “raises serious concerns,” and added that “transparency should not be used as an instrument to limit civil society’s capacity to operate freely.”

Source: The Hill

Be First to Comment

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *