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The Daily Beat: 13 September

The UK introduced a transit visa requirement for the nationals of Georgia and Russia. Given the serious concerns about an increase in the number of asylum seekers from Georgia and Russia, the British Parliament almost immediately approved the amendments to the Immigration Order, preventing their further influx into the country. Since 2018, Georgian and Russian nationals have consistently been among the top nationalities exploiting the UK’s transit provisions to claim asylum.

Speaking on the sidelines of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s State of Unions address in Strasbourg, EU enlargement commissioner Olivér Várhelyi talked about Georgia’s prospects for EU candidacy, reminding the government of unfulfilled commitments and urging for prompt action. “Now, every minute counts because we want to come with the reports already in October. So, I do hope Georgia will be there,” said Commissioner Várhelyi. 

The Georgian Parliament rejected to consider a petition signed by 6,084 citizens demanding a ban on direct flights between Russia and Georgia and introducing a visa regime for Russian citizens. The Parliament’s Sectoral Committee on Economy and Economic Policy discussed the issue only procedurally, not going into the details of the petition. “The state’s position is that it will not impose sanctions on Russia because these are aimed first and foremost at damaging our country’s economy and will affect our citizens…,” said the Committee’s Chairman, Davit Songhulashvili.

Opposition TV station “Mtavari Arkhiaired the report on the alleged refusal by the GD government of the US proposal to set up a US military base in Georgia, accusing the authorities of declining the offer, thus betraying the country’s security interests. Georgian Dream chairman Irakli Kobakhidze, who was asked to comment on this matter, told journalists that no military base can guarantee security, adding that only NATO membership can provide a reliable security umbrella for the country. Later in the day, the US embassy in Tbilisi denied that such a proposal was made.

Ruling Georgian Dream party chairman Irakli Kobakhidze wholeheartedly supported alleged pressure on an English-language online media outlet, OC Media, by the parliament Speaker Shalva Papuashvili. “Shalva Papuashvili did very well. When censorship is the case in a particular media outlet, donors should be aware of it. Therefore, it is very good that he informed donors about censorship,” said Irakli Kobakhidze. An English-language online media outlet, OC Mediaclaimed that Speaker Papuashvili, directly addressed one of the institutional donors of OC Media in a bid to pressure the outlet for declining to publish his op-ed piece.

Gurjaani District Court acquitted the persons arrested for protesting against the visit of the Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov’s daughter and his other relatives in Georgia, refusing the prosecutor’s request to impose fines. The judge verbally reprimanded three of the 14 people arrested on May 20 near Lake Kvareli and acquitted the remaining 11.

Tbilisi City Court found the former chief of Georgia’s Military Police Department, Megis Kardava, guilty of embezzling GEL 60,000 belonging to the Ministry of Defense of Georgia. Following a trial, the court sentenced Megis Kardava to 8 years’ imprisonment. However, applying the Amnesty Law reduced the sentence to 4 years imprisonment and a 6-month ban on holding public office or employment. Megis Kardava has been wanted by the Georgian authorities since 2013 on multiple charges in eleven criminal cases. He was detained in Ukraine in 2017 and extradited from Kyiv in 2021. 

The Monetary Policy Committee of the National Bank of Georgia (NBG) reduced the key refinancing rate by 0.25%, setting it to 10%. The NBG cited a downward inflation trajectory as the reason for the reduction. According to the NBG, annual inflation in Georgia was at 0.9% in August, and external factors, including lower prices of food and raw materials, influenced lower inflation. 


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