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The Daily Beat: 21 November

As part of a regional trip, British Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Europe) Leo Docherty visited Georgia, meeting with Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili and Foreign Minister Ilia Darchiashvili. According to the official press release, PM Garibashvili briefed the British official on ongoing reforms and security and humanitarian situation in occupied regions. On his part, Leo Docherty reiterated the UK’s continued support for Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations and pledged to help Georgia in building resilience in the face of Russia’s malign activity. As Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the British Foreign Office, Leo Docherty is responsible for Europe, UK-EU relations, International Security, Defense, and Conflicts.


The de facto leader of occupied Abkhazia, Alsan Bzhania, tightened international NGOs and organizations‘ access to Abkhazia. New restrictions imposed on international NGOs and international organizations include detailed reporting on ongoing and planned activities, their financial volumes, and local partners. According to new restrictions, the engagement of the local non-governmental partners would require prior approval from the “foreign ministry.” Stricter regulation of INGOs and IOs has long been pushed for by Inal Ardzinba, the Kremlin’s man put in charge of foreign relations of the occupied region.  


Saakashvili-era former prime minister, Zurab Noghaideli, testified before the court in the Cartographers’ case, saying that he lacked information about the 1:200,000 map, further adding that that President Saakashvili raised the issue of keeping the Davit-Gareji monastery complex on Georgian territory at a meeting of the National Security Council in late 2005.  “Cartographers’ Case” was a contentious 2020 investigation involving Russia-linked businessman Davit Khidasheli, where the Georgian Dream government accused civil servants of conspiring to cede land to Azerbaijan. The controversial investigation was also actively used for propaganda purposes by the ruling party in the run-up to the 2020 parliamentary elections.


The leader of the opposition party “Lelo for Georgia,Mamuka Khazaradze, presented a 9-point action plan titled “Georgia’s Defense Act,” saying it will help to curb Russia’s malign influence in Georgia. “Georgia’s Defense Act,” among other things, provides for the introduction of a visa regime for Russian citizens, a ban on Russia-Georgia flights, the Russian foundations, and the Russian state media broadcasting in Georgia, as well as a complete ban on the purchase of Georgian land for Russian citizens and the participation of Russian companies in tenders. It seems Mamuka Khazaradze is reading for an election campaign centered on an anti-Russian agenda.

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