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CSOs: Partskhaladze’s Case Shows that SSSG Doesn’t Perform its Function Properly

Fifteen civil society organizations (CSOs) have issued a joint statement stressing that the Georgian special services are not working adequately to neutralize Russian influence in Georgia. They stress this became clear after the US State Department rather then the Georgian State Security Service (SSSG) exposed Otar Partskhaladze‘s links to Russian special services (FSB).

On September 14, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) imposed sanctions on Otar Partskhaladze, considered by the media and watchdogs as one of the close associates of the oligarch, and ruling party patron, Bidzina Ivanishvili. The State Department stated that Partskhaladze was designated for his efforts to influence Georgian society and politics in cahoots with the FSB officer.

CSOs note: “It is hard to believe that the relevant services responsible for ensuring the security of the state of Georgia had no information about [Partskhaladze’s connections]”. They stress that “although the information about the sanctions became known a few days ago, the State Security Service has not yet responded effectively to this fact, which is probably related to the influence of Partskhaladze” . The CSOs also find concerning the fact that the government and people close to the government are actively trying to “cover up” the story.

The civil society organizations believe that the case of Partskhaladze is an example of the fact that the State Security Service “doesn’t fulfill the function assigned to it by the law, and it is easy to embed representatives of the Russian special services in the closest circle of the ruling party and its founder. This fact is the most important problem for the security of Georgia”

In the statement, the CSOs call on the Parliament to use all available mechanisms of parliamentary control and on the head of the SSSG to “provide comprehensive answers to questions related to the country’s security challenges”. In addition, the organizations note that the SSSG should inform the public what concrete steps are being taken to neutralize the network of Russian special services in Georgia.

“Today, more than ever, it is obvious that the special services of Georgia are ineffective in the fight against the influence of the occupying state, Russia, and need serious reform, including the introduction of effective mechanisms of democratic control in the national security sector,” – reads the statement.

Signatory organizations: International Transparency – Georgia; Human Rights Center; Economic Policy Research Center; Atlantic Council Of Georgia; Society and Banks; Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association; Georgia’s Reforms Associates; Open Society Fund Georgia; Sapari; Rights Georgia; International Society for Fair Elections And Democracy; Democracy Defenders; Civic Movement for Freedom; World Experience for Georgia; Media Development Foundation.

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


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