The Parliament of Georgia overcomes the veto on the bill "On foreign agents" can we say that the fate of democracy in Georgia is being decided today?

Vadim Dubnov, a columnist for Radio Liberty and an expert on Central Asia, expressed skepticism about the widely held belief that Georgia is changing its geopolitical direction and reversing its course towards democracy. Speaking on the program "A Difficult Question," Dubnov challenged the interpretation of recent legislative developments in Georgia.

"I would not say that. I do not think that the adoption of this law can be regarded as a change in the geopolitical vector, the abolition of democracy, etc.," Dubnov stated. His comments refer to the controversial law "On foreign agents," which he paradoxically sees as an indication that the state does not yet control everything.

Dubnov compared the situation to Russia's 2012 law "On foreign agents," noting that no one could have predicted it would lead to the extensive control seen by 2022. "This is the recognition by the authorities that there are areas that they do not control and want to control," he said. He further elaborated that the law serves as a symbolic measure, similar to how such laws in Russia were initially dormant but later became tools of oppression.

Dubnov emphasized that while the law is an affront to Georgian civil and democratic society, it does not signify a shift in the country's geopolitical orientation. Instead, he believes the situation in Georgia is more akin to the "Hungarian logic," where the government balances between European influences from Budapest and Brussels.

The expert criticized the ruling Georgian Dream Party (DP) for a tactical error in overestimating their preparatory efforts with society and underestimating the negative reaction from the West to the bill. Following the backlash, DP has launched a campaign to minimize the damage.

"In general, DP will cope with this task and it will retain its supporters. But the question is, how will the neutral part of society behave and will the opposition be able to consolidate?" Dubnov pondered.

Dubnov is confident that if the current situation persists, DP could compete for not only a simple majority but also a qualified majority in the upcoming parliamentary elections in October. He attributes this potential success to the "Hungarian way" resonating with the general populace and the ongoing war in Ukraine, which has altered the EU's expectations and heightened public fears of hostile actions from Russia.

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