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The Daily Beat: 16 February

The death of the prominent Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny has dominated Friday’s news and public discourse, triggering outrage and condemnation of Vladimir Putin’s Russia. A few hundred Russian residents took to the streets of Tbilisi, gathering in front of the Russian Embassy building, blaming the Russian President for Navalny’s death and shouting angrily – “Putin is a Killer” and “Putin Khuilo.” A separate demonstration with the same motives and spirit was held in Batumi.

Till now, President Salome Zurabishvili remains the only high-ranking Georgian official who reacted to Alexei Navalny’s death and expressed condolences to his family and to all those Russians who continue to fight for democracy. “Alexei Navalny’s death is a tragedy for all democracy and human rights defenders,” – President Zurabishvili posted on internet platform X (formerly Twitter). In the meantime, Speaker Shalva Papuashvili preferred not to comment on Navalny’s death. “I can’t comment on this issue; why should I explain the reasons?” Speaker Papuashvili told journalists.

Before the second working meeting of the opposition, the EaP Civil Society Platform representative and the ruling Georgian Dream party on the European Commission’s nine conditions, Speaker Shalva Papuashvili, replied to journalists’ questions, speaking of the President’s participation in the Munich Security Conference, the implementation of the Venice Commission’s recommendations, CSO’s involvement in the decision-making process, and the opposition.

Transparency International – TI Georgia, a local watchdog, releasedreport summarizing Georgia’s economic dependence on Russia in 2023. The organization notes that Georgia’s economic dependence on Russia has decreased compared to 2022 but has remained “considerably higher” than in 2021. TI-Georgia points to the drop in remittances as the main reason for the decline.

The Georgian Institute of Politics published the third iteration of the Georgia Governance Index (GGI), revealing a mixed picture, with Georgia showing “suboptimal governance in all four areas.” According to the GGI, the country’s record is “uneven” in the areas of effective governance and declined further in external governance. The document also notes that the democratic governance sector witnessed the most substantial improvement, primarily due to the “democratic resilience exhibited by civil society, the increasing independence of the presidential office, and, to a lesser extent, noteworthy progress in the democratic functioning of key state institutions.”

The State Security Service reported the illegal detention of two Georgian citizens near the Tskhinvali occupation line. According to the State Security Service, the EUMM “hotline” and all other mechanisms were immediately activated to ensure the release of illegally detained Georgian citizens as soon as possible.


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