The Daily Beat: 14 February
A sovereignist offshoot of the ruling Georgian Dream party, People’s Power, initiated a draft law on the “Transparency of Foreign Influence” – the Georgian equivalent of Russian law on foreign agents. The bill purportedly ensures transparency of foreign influence and provides a register of agents of a foreign power, like in Russia. All non-profit legal entities and media with more than 20 percent of revenue financed by “foreign forces” will have to be registered or risk fines, People’s Power MPs announced. “The public has the right to see who and how it is funded,” reacted MP Mikheil Sarjveladze from the ruling party. Opposition political parties, media outlets, and the CSOs are highly critical of this initiative and say that if passed, it will undermine the country’s EU integration and democracy.
Georgian delegation headed by defense minister Juansher Burchuladze takes part in a US-led contact group meeting for Ukraine at Ramstein military facility. Defense ministers and high-ranking military officials of more than 50 like-minded countries discussed the ways of supporting Ukraine as there are clear signs that more new offensives and attacks are to come from the Russian side. In his brief comment for Rustavi 2 TV, NATO Secretary General stressed the importance of supporting countries vulnerable to Russian intervention, including Georgia, and outlined the areas for enhanced cooperation, such as cyber, crisis management, and secure communications.
The government sent more than 100 tons of humanitarian aid to Turkey to help those affected by the devastating earthquake. GEL 1 million worth of humanitarian assistance includes first aid items, medicines, medical equipment, baby food, warm clothing, generators, sleeping bags, food, and other things, the Ministry of IDPs, Labour, Health and Social Protection announced.
EU Ambassador Pawel Herczynski, in an extensive interview with Interpressnews, encouraged both the government and the opposition to more inclusiveness and constructive approach for delivering maximum progress on 12 EU conditions for candidacy. The EU ambassador admitted Georgia’s preparedness in many areas but stressed the need to implement the 12 conditions. The ambassador promised that the European Commission report expected in October, on which Georgia’s EU candidacy largely depends, will be transparent, merit-based, and very apolitical.
The police halted the criminal inquest into the case of the artist Sandro Sulaberidze due to the absence of corpus delicti. A few days ago, police opened a theft case in connection with artist Sandro Sulaberidze who allegedly removed his own painting from the National Gallery, leaving in its place a spray-painted slogan on a wall: “Art is alive and independent.” Police involvement – allegedly at the behest of the Minister of Culture – sparked protests from the arts community and some members of the public, including the president.
The arrest of the Day
Police raided drug dealers, arresting 45, including 14 foreign citizens. Vast quantities of narcotics, including “heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, LSD, and methadone,” prepared for sale were seized by the police, the Interior Ministry announced.
Comings and Goings
President Biden nominated Robin Dunnigan as the future US Ambassador to Georgia. Amb. Dunnigan, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, currently serves as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Central and Eastern Europe in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs. She has also served in various diplomatic positions in Austria, Vietnam, Cuba, and Turkey. If Senate approves, Dunnigan will succeed Kelly Degnan, who has occupied this position since January 2020.