State Security Service of Georgia Issues 2022 Report

The Georgian State Security Service (SSG) has published its annual report for 2022, outlining the main challenges and threats facing the country and the measures being taken to counter them.

According to the report, the “existential” threat in 2022 remains the Russian occupation and the Russian military contingent illegally deployed in the occupied regions. “In 2022, the annexation processes took on an even more pronounced character,” the report says. The document also notes that Russia’s war in Ukraine has exacerbated challenges to the country’s security and territorial integrity, as well as increased pressure on Georgia’s economy and socio-political stability.

Among the pronounced challenges named by the report are the intelligence activities by foreign countries’ special services and the attempts to interfere in the country’s socio-political processes including through the so-called “hybrid war” instruments.

Occupied territories

The Russian occupation of Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region is cited as the main security threat. Throughout 2022, the military bases in both occupied regions continued to conduct military exercises, rotations of military personnel and other illegal activities. The partial redeployment of heavy equipment and military personnel to Ukraine was noted. However, more than 50% of the occupying forces remained in the occupied regions. It is noted that volunteers from the occupied regions also took part in the war against Ukraine.

The report mentions active disinformation campaigns in the occupied regions, spreading messages that the central government is planning to use force against them. The report notes that the occupying regimes used these narratives to threaten the local population and make them more receptive to Russia’s annexation policy.

In 2022, 44 Georgian citizens were illegally detained near the occupation line in Tskhinvali and 13 near the occupation line in Abkhazia. There were cases of interrogation, intimidation and discrimination against ethnic Georgians.

At the end of 2022, nine Georgian citizens were in unlawful detention, including Irakli Bebua.

The cases of Irakli Kvaratskhelia, Davit Basharauli, Archil Tatunashvili and Giga Otkhozoria, who died in illegal detention by the occupying regime, are not prosecuted, creating a syndrome of impunity in the occupied territories, and encouraging criminal practices.

Throughout 2022, the process of illegal border demarcation continued – 69 cases of border demarcation in the Tskhinvali region and 9 cases in Abkhazia.


In January 2022, an agreement was signed to transfer the occupied Bichvinta (Abkhazia) “state cottage complex” to Russia free of charge and to lease the land and surrounding water area.

The agreement has yet to be ‘ratified’ by Abkhazia, due to the protests that its signing sparked.Together with the attempts to gain full control over the region’s economic and other ‘strategic’ infrastructure, the appropriation of land on the border with Russia, and the attempts by the Russian capital to privatize energy facilities – all should be seen as part of the ongoing annexation, the report says. It also notes that attempts have been made to incorporate Abkhazia into the Russian-Belarusian Union, with the visit of Belarusian President Lukashenka last year seen as part of this effort.

It is also noted that in September 2022 the Russian Foreign Ministry and the occupying regime signed a so-called “dual citizenship agreement”, which allows for the simplified acquisition of Russian citizenship. Throughout the year, the harmonization of local laws with Russian legislation continued, as well as work on simplifying border crossings with Russia, the rehabilitation of Sokhumi airport, etc.

The appointment of the representative of the Military Academy of the Russian General Staff as “Deputy Minister of Defence” is a further demonstration of Russia’s influence on the occupation regime.

According to the report, 42% (about $77.5 million) of the so-called budget of occupied Abkhazia (about $186.3 million) was financed by the Russian tranche.

According to the report, attempts were made to circumvent the functioning of international organizations in the occupied regions in order to increase their isolation. The Abkhaz occupying regime actively sought to establish links in the international arena, in particular with Belarus, Syria and the Middle East.

As in previous years, the population in the occupied territories was subjected to ethnic discrimination, and their basic rights were flagrantly violated by the occupying forces.

Tskhinvali region

Throughout 2022, there is a high risk of the region being annexed by Russia, as the de facto regime of the occupied region openly supports joining the Russian Federation. There have been calls for a referendum on the issue, but these have been dropped ‘after consultations with Russia’.

A so-called “agreement on dual citizenship” was signed between Moscow and the occupying regime in Tskhinvali. Tskhinvali is heavily dependent on Moscow financially. The Tskhinvali regime also supported the draft law “On Joining the Customs Code of the Eurasian Economic Union”.

The so-called “budget” of the occupied Tskhinvali region was about $120 million, of which about 81% (about $96.7 million) was financed by the Russian Federation.

State security and counter-intelligence

According to the report, the war in Ukraine caused a serious geopolitical crisis in the region, including Georgia, as it fundamentally damaged the security environment in the region and created complex challenges.

Meanwhile, periodic military confrontation between Armenia and Azerbaijan and the risk of new incidents in 2022 remain a major challenge to the security of the region and Georgia.

Added to this, the report says, is “internally inspired” political instability by disruptive forces. External and internal actors, appealing to patriotic sentiments, propagated statements contrary to Georgia’s national interests and called on the population to take actions detrimental to national security.

According to the report, the security situation in the country was further damaged by the activities of hostile forces aimed at deepening polarization, attempts to disrupt the work of state institutions, calls for a change of government by violent means, and attempts to destabilize society.

The report says that “destructive forces”, allegedly supported by special services, are trying to spoil Georgia’s relations with other states, Western countries, and strategic partners. According to the 2022 report, foreign intelligence services are trying to gather information on internal political and economic processes, as well as on ongoing or planned international and regional infrastructure projects. External forces interested in gaining ideological, political, and economic influence over Georgia used groups of Georgian citizens who were financially dependent on these forces, as well as individuals residing in Georgia in one status or another.

The report also highlights the defense sector, defense capabilities, and ongoing and planned activities in the defense sector as an area of interest for foreign intelligence.

Disinformation and Propaganda

A special subchapter discusses disinformation and hybrid warfare. According to the report, the main goal of the disinformation campaigns was to change the country’s foreign policy orientation and its Euro-Atlantic aspirations. The report also mentions information campaigns aimed at deceiving the public and artificially stirring up feelings of protest.

The report also talks about soft power, noting that during the reporting period, foreign intelligence services used political forces, scientific and expert circles, cultural representatives, businesses, and other means of their respective countries. They sought to establish contacts with their Georgian counterparts in order to achieve their goals, the report said, including by organizing seminars, conferences, and expert meetings in and outside Georgia.

The report says that during 2022, several disinformation campaigns were unleashed against SSSG. One such campaign was “absolutlely groundeless” accusations againt SSSG about cooperation with the special service of a hostile foreign country in order to organize transporting of smuggled goods.

Another one, according to the report, was the campaign about the mass and uncontrolled influx of the foreign countries’ citizens into Georgia. According to the SSSG the aim was to threaten the Georgian citizens with “saboteur” groups, individuals connected with terrorist groups, etc.

Cybersecurity, terrorism

Cybersecurity continued to be a key challenge for the SSSG. The SSSG’s operational technical agency, LEPL, responded to 33 cases of cyber-attacks of varying severity against critical infrastructure facilities.

According to the report, Georgia continued to cooperate with international partners in the fields of cybersecurity and counter-terrorism.

With regard to the latter, the return of Georgian citizens currently fighting with DAESH and Al-Qaeda in Syria and Iraq, the infiltration of international terrorists and the possible use of Georgian territory by terrorist organizations for transit purposes, as well as the identification of possible recruitment of Georgian citizens by terrorist organizations, are among the main directions in which the SSSG was working.

The Security Service noted that there were no terrorist acts in Georgia during the year. It also noted that no cases of financial or other support for terrorist organizations were recorded during the reporting period.

Fight against corruption

In 2022, the Service’s Anti-Corruption Department opened 61 criminal cases, and 170 individuals were charged with criminal offenses such as bribery, abuse of authority, official indifference, large-scale fraud and aiding and abetting fraud, legalization of illegal income, illegal acquisition of real estate, and others.

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This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


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