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The Daily Beat: 28 November

Politico’s annual ranking puts billionaire and the founder of the “Georgian Dream,” Bidzina Ivanishvili, on the list of the most influential people in Europe. Noteworthy that he is not listed in the “doers” or “dreamers” category but in the “disrupters.” Politico describes Bidzina Ivanishvili as an oligarch widely known for pulling the strings of the ruling Georgian Dream party and pushing Georgia out of the EU’s waiting room and into the Kremlin’s clutches.


President Salome Zurabishvili and, separately, the “Girchi-More Freedom” and “Droa” coalition started advocating for more Georgians living abroad to the ballot boxes for the 2024 parliamentary elections. The recent study suggests that 860 thousand people emigrated between 2010 and 2020, while according to official statistics, 125,269 citizens emigrated in 2022, the highest number in the decade. As the elections loom, pro-European actors hope to capitalize on their votes.


The National Environmental Agency revoked a 49-year hunting license for 104,712 hectares of Racha forest granted to a Russia-linked businessman, Davit Khidasheli’s company. Protests against granting a 49-year hunting license have been ongoing since September 2023. Protesters have claimed that the license was issued without public consultations, demanding its cancellation. Davit Khidasheli is known for his connections with Vladimir Putin’s inner circle and close ties with Bidzinda Ivanishvili and PM Irakli Garibashvili, who played a key role in “Cartographer’s Case.”


Defense Minister Juansher Burchuladze participated in the trilateral Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey Defense Ministerial held in Baku. According to the defense ministry, the ministerial discussions were focused on regional and global security matters and regional cooperation, emphasizing the importance of peace and stability. Minister Burchuladze also held bilateral meetings with his Azerbaijani and Turkish counterparts during his visit.  The trilateral defense cooperation format was launched in 2012.


Occupied Abkhazia’s interior ministry announced the tightening of security measures in the “territories bordering the Russian Federation” in connection with the possible visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to the Krasnodar region of Russia. President Putin is expected to attend the III Congress of Young Scientists in Sirius Scientists and Art Park in Krasnodar.


The ruling Georgian Dream party refused to consider a parliamentary resolution on Georgia’s Defense Act aimed at curbing Russia’s malign influence in Georgia, claiming that it could be extremely harmful to Georgia. Georgia’s Defense Act, tabled by the opposition party “Lelo for Georgia,” envisaged several gross anti-Russian measures, including joining the EU sanctions against Russia, suspension of Russia-Georgia flights, and introducing a visa regime with Russia. Russian state media outlets such as Izvestia, Interfax, Gazeta.ru, and others actively covered this story, describing it as a positive development.

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