How will the protests against the "Russian law" in Georgia end?

In the heart of Tbilisi, massive protests have erupted against the proposed "On Transparency of Foreign Influence" law, colloquially known as the "Russian law." The Georgian Parliament's move to adopt this legislation has sparked a fierce debate both domestically and internationally, highlighting deep-seated tensions about the direction of Georgia's foreign policy.

The bill, which mandates that organizations receiving foreign funds register as foreign agents, has cleared its first parliamentary hurdle and is poised for a final reading on May 17. Critics argue that the law mimics Russia's 2012 "Foreign Agents" law, which has been used to stifle dissent and control civil society.

Georgia's initiative has strained relationships with Western allies, notably the European Union and the United States, who have expressed strong opposition to the law. The only notable support for the Georgian government's stance appears to come from Russia, further complicating the geopolitical dynamics.

Despite international backlash and the promise of a presidential veto by Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili, the government remains steadfast in its commitment to pass the law. This has led to concerns about Georgia's trajectory towards European integration and its increasingly complex relations with Russia.

The protests, however, are not solely about this controversial law. Natig Jafarli, executive secretary of the REAL Party, in an interview with the Difficult Question program suggests that the public dissent also reflects broader dissatisfaction with the ruling Georgian Dream party's policies. Economic issues, exacerbated by the influx of over 100,000 Russian citizens following the conflict in Ukraine, have led to rising living costs, which protesters link to broader socio-political grievances.

Jafarli points out that while the Georgian government maintains its formal stance against Russian occupation and supports Ukraine, there are underlying concerns about Georgia's economic and political alignment with Russia. The opposition accuses the government of creeping pro-Russian tendencies under the influence of Bidzina Ivanishvili, the influential founder of Georgian Dream.

In the parliamentary debates, members of the ruling party argue that the law is a necessary safeguard against Russian influence, especially in light of the upcoming parliamentary elections which will allow even small parties significant access to political power. They fear that without such a law, Russian-backed entities could gain disproportionate influence.

As the final vote approaches, the outcome and consequences of the "Russian law" remain uncertain. The ongoing protests reflect a critical juncture for Georgia, as it grapples with its identity, sovereignty, and future orientation between Russia and the West.

 

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Difficult question

Xankəndidə rus konsulluğu, Paşinyanın yerinə arxiyepiskopun namizədliyi, sülh çağırışları...- İlham İsmayıl Çətin sualda



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