UPDATED: “Georgian Dream” Promotes Draft Law on Foreign Agents, Multiplies Tactical Narratives  

After MP Mamuka Mdinaradze, the chairman of the Georgian Dream faction, said that the party will vote in favor of the draft law “On Transparency of Foreign Funding” submitted by People’s Power, the representatives of the ruling party began to speak of the positive sides of the legislative initiative, multiplying tactical narratives to prevent the creation of the unified civil society front against the initiative.

Below is a compilation of some of the remarks made by the representatives of the ruling party on the draft law on foreign agents:  

Irakli Kobakhidze, chairman of Georgian Dream: “You see that there is a similar law in the United States, which is much stricter; we think it is wrong to adopt such a strict law. As for Europe, they also started talking about adopting this law. A representative of the EPP came out and started talking about the plans to copy the American law. How can all this be in contradiction with European integration or other issues? It is impossible… So, it is absolutely irrelevant to say that this bill can hinder the EU integration of the country…”  He also said, “there will be the roster [of foreign agents] and you will learn everything… about Namkhvani Hydropower Plant [see hashtag] for example, we all know, perhaps there have been some Russian commercial interests, perhaps others that wanted to block building of the station.”

Mamuka Mdinaradze, chairman of the Georgian Dream faction: “We are talking about transparency… whether you are getting external funding and in what form, to put it all in one register so that a person does not have to go through financial documents… we are talking about making things simpler.”  “I have many relatives who work in organizations funded by [foreign] grants … when we say that many details that need to be worked through, this is what I mean… perhaps, small funding can’t influence anything even if it is malevolent… we could speak about amounts, to avoid misunderstandings.” When responding to the journalist’s point that the state already has multiple sources to draw the information from concerning the CSO funding, such as audit reports and tax office data, Mdinaradze conceded that “there is information, but it is dispersed” and “we are talking about simplifying things through the united roster.”

Tea Tsulukiani, Minister of Culture/Deputy Prime Minister: “We have reasonable doubt to think that some NGOs may have as much money as our ministry, for example. These NGOs have millions of Lari, and at the same time, they actively participate in the management of public processes. Of course, the public interest demands that their activities become more transparent.”  

This news item has been updated to reflect additional details in statements.

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