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The Daily Beat: 26 October

The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation held a hearing on security in the Black Sea region, discussing Georgia and the announced establishment of a Russian naval base in occupied Abkhazia. At the subcommittee hearing, senators and the Assistant Secretary also touched on Georgia’s EU candidacy, democracy, and 2024 parliamentary elections, saying that while the majority of the population supports reforms and EU integration, a small group of businesses and others who do have some political influence prefer being a gray area.

Ambassador Erin Elizabeth McKee, USAID Assistant Administrator for Europe and Eurasia, refuted allegations by the ruling party that USAID is “funding extremists” in Georgia through Georgian NGO projects. “First and foremost, USAID works with a variety of civil society organizations and non-governmental organizations to help strengthen and improve the democratic process,” said Ambassador McKee, adding that “Any claims that the United States through USAID is supporting revolution are patently false and, frankly, disinformation.”

The PM Irakli Garibashvili opened the two-day Tbilisi Silk Road Forum “Connecting Today, Resilient Tomorrow,” bringing over 2000 delegates from 63 countries, including high-level guests such as the Prime Ministers of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Montenegro. In his opening speech, PM Garibashvili spoke of Russian occupation, commitment to peace, strategically important projects, and EU integration, underscoring Georgia’s unique role in bridging East with the West.

The Georgian Orthodox Church urged the parish against Halloween, releasing a statement emphasizing that Halloween celebrations are “completely unacceptable for Orthodox Christians.” According to the Church, “The Halloween event is based on religious principles and contradicts the consciousness of the Orthodox Church.” The Patriarchate further notes: “The main story associated with [Halloween] is an example of how a pious tradition can merge with a qualitatively alien one and completely degenerate.

The Security Service official downplayed the Russian military presence near the Georgian-controlled village of Mleta, saying “nothing new” about it. In his Facebook post, Anti-Occupation activist David Katsarava urged the public about the Russian troop movement near Mleta, close to St. George’s Church, on the territory controlled by Tbilisi.

A local think tank, Democracy Research Institute (DRI), released a statement denouncing the Georgian government’s response to the establishment of the Russian naval base only four kilometers from the Georgia-controlled town of Anaklia, describing it as “insufficient” and therefore “ineffective.” The Institute claims large-scale base work has been ongoing for three weeks.

The Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) recently published comprehensive research focusing on the “gifts” received by public officials in Georgia. The report highlighted the inherent risks associated with gifts to public officials, such as the potential for favoritism and damaging the civil service’s reputation. In addition, the report suggested that the gifts can sometimes be linked to corruption schemes aimed at concealing illicit income as high-value gifts.


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