Georgia’s Controversial Foreign Agent Bill Resurfaces

Georgia’s ruling party announced plans to reintroduce a controversial bill requiring organizations receiving foreign funds to register as foreign agents, sparking renewed debate reminiscent of Russian-style repression.

Mamuka Mdinaradze, head of the Georgian Dream parliamentary faction, defended the move, accusing the opposition of misinforming the public and confirming the bill’s imminent passage before October’s elections.

The proposed legislation mandates registration for groups receiving more than 20% of their funding from abroad or face fines, drawing parallels to laws used by Russian President Vladimir Putin to suppress dissent.

Georgian ruling party’s bill reignites debate over civil liberties (Credits: NDTV World)

Despite previous withdrawal following violent protests and international condemnation, the ruling party remains committed to its implementation.

Critics, including Georgia’s opposition, denounced the bill as a “Russian law,” tapping into public apprehension towards Moscow‘s interference in the country’s affairs.

Georgian Dream, founded by billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili and accused of authoritarian tendencies, faces scrutiny over its perceived closeness to Russia despite retaining significant popular support.

While Georgia secured EU candidate status in December, the ruling party’s stance towards civil society organizations raises questions about its commitment to European values.

Critics decry legislation as threat to democratic principles (Credits: AP Photo)
Critics decry legislation as a threat to democratic principles (Credits: AP Photo)

Amidst the controversy, Georgian Dream’s proposed legislation targeting LGBT rights further exacerbates tensions.

Plans to restrict LGBT rights, including banning the “promotion” of same-sex relationships and gender transitions, draw criticism from human rights advocates and amplify concerns about the party’s increasingly conservative agenda.

Despite ongoing criticism and opposition, Georgian Dream remains Georgia’s dominant political force. However, its latest legislative initiatives fuel apprehension about the erosion of democratic norms and civil liberties in the country.