Khma (the voice), a prominent left-wing movement in Georgia, has demanded to nationalize strategic assets owned by the Russian state or Kremlin-affiliated oligarchs and to diversify import sources.
The movement said these strategic assets include “the most important part of the energy sector, mineral deposits, mineral waters and other vital resources and assets for the population of Georgia.”
The group also noted that wheat, flour and other key products are “entirely” imported from Russia. “This kind of reckless capitulation of our economy is the result of the ineptitude of current and past business elites,” it said.
Khma argued that while such a situation allows some officials and businessmen to enrich themselves, for Georgian citizens, in the current geopolitical environment, it has led to an increased cost of living.
Pointing at Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the movement noted that the dependency on Russia is “not only an issue of ethics, but of national security.”
“Georgia, like Ukraine, is facing constant aggression from the peripheral empire in our region – [Vladimir] Putin’s Russia,” it noted, adding that “Russian leverages on the post-Soviet space include both direct military aggression and economic influence.”
Meanwhile, the group also argued, “the Georgian people, inadvertently, with the daily consumption of vital [Russian] products or service, are indirectly financing the missiles and bullets fired by Putin’s troops at Ukrainian cities and populations.”
A recent study by Transparency International Georgia said there are 7,000 companies registered in Georgia that are partially owned by Russian citizens and firms.
It also noted that “large Russian companies are represented in all sectors of the Georgian economy” from energy to gambling.
According to the document, the Russian energy trading company Inter Rao, for instance, is the majority shareholder of Telasi JSC, the only electricity distribution company in Tbilisi, and HPPs – Khramhesi-I and Khramhesi-II, responsible for 3.6% of the generated electricity in Georgia in 2020.
A Russian company also holds majority shares in a firm that operates smaller HPPs – Larsi and Shilda.
TI Georgia has also found that Russian citizens as beneficial owners of Rich Metals Group, which mines gold and copper in the country and IDS Borjomi, a mineral water giant.
The report also estimated that Russia is responsible for 94% of total wheat imported in Georgia.