The Daily Dispatch

The Daily Dispatch – July 29

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SECOND WAVE? The rate of COVID-19 infections have perked up dangerously in Abkhazia – 33 new cases are reported since July 22. The spike may serve as a proxy to judging the infection rates in Russia, which serves as a primary trade and travel destination to this occupied province of Georgia. Given the state of the healthcare system in Abkhazia, additional support from Georgian doctors and international donors might be required.

YOU’VE GOT MAIL (AGAIN) If the Georgian government considered a lull in its public relations spar with the U.S. Congress possible, following a humiliating U-turn in a case of Frontera Resources. But the Texan oilmen were not amused and neither are the congressmen from Texas. Together with their colleague from Oklahoma, they have penned yet another letter to Mike Pompeo, the U.S. Secretary of State, bemoaning the “continued deterioration of the private sector investment environment, especially for U.S. companies as well as the Government of Georgia’s commitment to continued democratic reform and seek to be a NATO ally.” The letter is somewhat half-baked, saying, for example, that the election system bill was not yet passed – which is patently wrong. Still, the government clearly has a confidence problem with the U.S. Congress, which simply would not go away.

ANNA AND THE GOLIATH A former outspoken member of the High Council of Justice Anna Dolidze decided to throw down the gauntlet to one of the ruling Georgian Dream party heavyweights, First Deputy Chair of the Parliament and a longtime party whip Giorgi Volski. She is to challenge Volski in Tbilisi’s Didube-Chugureti district for the majoritarian MP seat. The clash promises to be bad-tempered and amusing since the two are known for their sharp-tongues – although tempered in different epochs. Volski managed to serve as a Communist party instructor in his day, while Dolidze cut her teeth as a human rights activist a couple of decades later.

RIGHT OF PASSAGE A group of prominent Georgian human rights watchdogs asked the government to lift the blanket restriction on the activity of non-governmental agencies in villages adjacent to occupied Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia. The open appeal says the access has been effectively restricted since 30 August 2019, including to the villages that remain under full control of Tbilisi. CSOs say the ban prevents them to monitor the rights of the locals and prevents them from providing aid, while the media is prevented from exercising their profession. These restrictions are disproportional to the reasons of public safety, say the watchdogs.

PITCHFORKS! The nativist, ultra-right “Georgian March” plans to lay siege to the offices of the “Open Society – Georgia” Foundation, the local branch of the Soros Foundations’ network. Riding on anti-Soros hysteria of the anti-liberal regimes, the “Georgian March” chants “Georgia without Soros” – backing itself up with a doctored image of President Trump lifting what seems to be – bizarrely – Soros’ severed head in a plastic bag…

That’s full lid for today!

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