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The Daily Beat: 8 February

On 8 February, Irakli Kobakhidze and his new cabinet won a vote of confidence from the parliament with 84 votes to 10. Eleven out of twelve cabinet ministers retained their ministerial positions. Defense Minister Irakli Chikovani is the only new cabinet member, replacing Juansher Burchuladze in this post.

President Salome Zurabishvili, whom the ruling Georgian Dream party considers a member of the radical opposition, signed a decree appointing Irakli Kobakhidze as prime minister. According to the president, her prompt signature on the appointment of Prime Minister Irakli Kobakhidze was due to the fight against natural disasters in western Georgia, which claimed the lives of 11 people.

As Prime Minister, Irakli Kobakhidze will make his first foreign visit to Brussels, already scheduled for February 20-21. “A visit to Brussels is already scheduled for February 20-21. I will have meetings both in the EU and NATO. So my first foreign visit will take place in Brussels,” PM Kobakhidze told journalists.

Besides Brussels, PM Irakli Kobakhidze pledged to visit the occupation line, something he had not done so far in his previous posts, prompting ongoing criticism from the opposition representatives. “Due to my new status, I will have to visit the occupation line and get acquainted with the on-the-ground situation and the needs of the local population,” said Kobakhidze.

Interior Ministry’s emergency response teams continue to deal with the consequences of natural disasters in the western Georgian regions of Imereti and Adjara, claiming the lives of 11 people. Nine people were killed by a landslide in Imereti, while two others were reported dead in Adjara.

The de facto leader of occupied Abkhazia, Aslan Bzhania, visited Moscow, where he met with high-ranking Russian officials, including Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Putin’s First Deputy Chief of Staff Dmitry Kozak, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak and Deputy Secretary of Security Council Rashid Nurgaliyev. According to Bzhania’s office, during the visit, the parties discussed “bilateral cooperation” between the occupied Georgian region of Abkhazia and Russia in the socio-economic, energy, and other fields.

Upon his return from Russia, the leader of occupied Abkhazia, Aslan Bzhania, submitted a so-called draft law “On non-profit organizations and individuals performing the functions of a foreign agent” to the de facto legislature of Abkhazia. According to the draft law, non-profit organizations and individuals can be recognized as foreign agents if they receive foreign funding, with the exception of Russia, Syria, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Nauru.

National Communications Commission announcement indicates a considerable increase in commercial TV advertising revenues of pro-government TV channels – TV Imedi, Rustavi 2, and POSTV, while opposition-minded media outlets such as Mtavari TV, Formula TV, and TV Pirveli experience a decrease. According to the Commission, advertising revenues of the ruling party’s principal mouthpiece, TV Imedi, increased by GEL 8.6 million from 2022 and amounted to GEL 33.7 million.


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