Georgia risks sliding into Russia’s orbit — opposition MP

Georgian protests against the 'foreign agent' bill
Georgian protests against the 'foreign agent' bill

Khatia Dekanoidze, head of Georgia’s parliamentary opposition, spoke in an interview with NV Radio on April 16 about the controversial “foreign agent” bill and the threats it poses to Georgia.

If the bill passes, it may create a barrier to Georgia’s EU and NATO aspirations, according to Dekanoidze.

“Georgian citizens, especially the younger generation, call this bill ‘Russian’ because Russia had the same [passed] one in 2012,” she said.

“They recognized as foreign agents such people as [Alexei] Navalny, [Ivan] Zhdanov, who were then either killed by [Russian dictator Vladimir] Putin, or they left Russia. Therefore, I think that what awaits Georgia [if the bill is passed] is becoming another Belarus, where people realize that no democracy can take root.”

If the parliament supports the bill in the third reading, the Georgian people’s resistance will be very serious, Dekanoidze suggested.

“I’m sure that Georgians won’t live under a dictator like [self-proclaimed Belarusian President Alexander] Lukashenko,” she said.

“It’s not a question of domestic politics, it’s a question of where we’re going. I’m absolutely certain that [the oligarch who controls the ruling Georgian Dream party, Bidzina] Ivanishvili wants to take over Georgia just like Lukashenko [took over Belarus], but I don’t think he’ll get away with that.”

Read also: Ukraine’s ruling party in war of words with Georgian government

After the Georgian government submitted another draft of the bill to the parliament in April, mass protests against the controversial legislation have taken place across the country.

On March 7, 2023, the Georgian parliament backed the bill in the first reading. If passed, it would require any organizations receiving more than 20% of their funding from abroad to register as “foreign agents” or face fines.

The Georgian Dream party and the People’s Power movement had to withdraw the controversial bill on March 9 after mass protests. The authorities then stated that “the machine of lies was able to present the bill in a negative light and mislead a certain part of the public.”

The German government has criticized Georgia’s intention to pass legislation that mirrors Russia’s steps to strangle civil society and democratic processes.

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine