CrisisWatch Georgia

Unchanged Situation

Russia and breakaway regions responded harshly after co-chairs of Geneva International Discussions postponed talks; foreign agents law proposal sparked controversy.

Russia and de facto authorities continued to deny entry to co-chairs of Geneva talks. After co-chairs of Geneva International Discussions late Jan postponed planned 57th round of talks until April, Abkhazia and South Ossetia de facto authorities, as well as Russia, voiced anger at “unilateral” move and denied co-chairs entry to either breakaway regions or Moscow, despite visits scheduled for 8-9 Feb. Despite this move, co-chairs decided to proceed with their planned trip to capital Tbilisi 6-7 Feb to meet with Georgian govt.

Proposed law on foreign influence provoked harsh criticism. People’s Power movement, closely affiliated with Georgian Dream party and critical of Western policies in Georgia, during month submitted two draft laws that would oblige NGOs and media outlets that receive over 20% of their funding from abroad to register as “agents of foreign influence”; failure to fulfil this requirement, which would apply to individuals as well, would result in variety of penalties from fines to prison term of up to five years. Georgian Dream party 21 Feb announced support for draft, but U.S. 16 Feb criticised law and rejected claim it resembles U.S. Foreign Agents Registration Act; Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe same day raised “several concerns”; over 60 media outlets 27 Feb released joint statement “categorically opposing” draft law; and President Salome Zourabichvili 28 Feb pledged to veto it.

In other important developments. Tbilisi City Court 6 Feb ruled against transfer of imprisoned former President Mikheil Saakashvili abroad for health reasons.

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In The News

13 Jun 2018
The Georgian government has been in crisis for quite a long time. Mr. Ivanishvili’s comeback and popular protests are just symptoms of this process. The New York Times

Olesya Vartanyan

Senior Analyst, South Caucasus
12 Mar 2018
Over the last three years, we have been seeing a serious decline in the situation in the districts [of South Ossetia] mainly populated by ethnic Georgians. Al Jazeera

Olesya Vartanyan

Senior Analyst, South Caucasus
5 Feb 2018
There was a social media campaign two years ago [in Abkhazia] encouraging people to boycott the funerals of anyone who died after seeking medical care in Tbilisi. EurasiaNet

Olesya Vartanyan

Senior Analyst, South Caucasus

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