Political Spectrum on the Possibility of Further U.S. Sanctions

The re-introduction of the Russian-style Foreign Agents Law by the ruling Georgian Dream majority has provoked sharp criticism from Georgia’s partners. This criticism from the international community, in its turn prompted reactions from across the political spectrum, especially after U.S. State Department spokesman Matthew Miller commented on the re-introduction of the bill, saying that right now the State Department is “making clear that we are concerned with this draft legislation” and hinting at the possibility of countermeasures, if the law is adopted, on part of the U.S.: “With respect to what we might do if it moves forward, stay tuned.” collected comments from across the Georgian political spectrum on this very statement by Spokesperson Miller and possible steps the U.S. and/or other international partners of Georgia might take if this strongly opposed law is passed.

Parliamentary Majority

Mamuka Mdinaradze, parliamentary majority leader of Georgian Dream: “I really do not expect any sanctions. Because sanctions from the country where there is stricter legislation working in this direction is unbelievable… Criticism is also an unbelievable injustice, I say it directly. We do not hear the [mere] criticism… but harsh criticism from certain representatives of our friendly country, including harsh criticism on the official level”.

Irakli Zarkua, Georgian Dream: “In fact, I will not be surprised if I am sanctioned by our partners for defending the interests of our country, [as] our judges have been sanctioned for what there is no argument to date. I appeal to Mr. Mattew Miller, [as] our judges are being sanctioned without reason, without argument: you have onemore opportunity to send us the arguments why you are right. Maybe you are right. You are being unfair and that is not the right approach. This is not a partner’s approach. We believe in our friends and friends do not act like this.”

Kakha Kaladze, GD Secretary General, Mayor of Tbilisi: “First of all, the question arises why our country should be sanctioned. There is no reason for it, it’s absolutely incomprehensible. This is just blackmail, a threat, I would say. What problem does the law have with freedom of speech and expression, property and justice? These are the basic principles on which Europe is based. What is the problem with transparency and this law? It’s been too much, I haven’t heard any explanations. The only assessment I hear is that it is “Russian”. I don’t know more stupidity and nonsense. I have not heard any argumentation why this particular law is a problem”.

Eka Sepashvili, People’s Power: “When they threaten us, this is not the approach of a partner. I would not call it a partner’s approach. Although I am sure that there will be no sanctions.”


Levan Khabeishvili, Chair of the United National Movement: “This was a very strict, very clear statement pointing out that yes, the members of the Government and the [parliamentary] majority could be sanctioned, but we should understand that this will not be the solution for the Georgian people. The solution is to drop this law, the solution is to change the Government. Because we should understand that even now, if the Government withdraws this law, but if we do not change this Government, they could reintroduce it in two months.”

Badri Japaridze, Lelo for Georgia: “The Georgian people will not be alone in the fight for freedom, they have not been alone and they will not be alone. Our closest strategic partners, the United States, the EU will be with us. Therefore, the Georgian people will always feel their support and we will always stand united against the implementation of imperialist intentions. Accordingly, we have heard the statement of the United States yesterday, we will hear a number of statements from the EU; it is important that the Georgian people know that we are not alone in this fight for freedom.”

Zurab Japaridze, Girchi-More Freedom: “In general, the policy of the United States is such that they do not say in advance if they are going to sanction, whom they are going to sanction, and when they are going to sanction. The State Department works on it when they collect the relevant data and make the decisions afterwards. Nobody has any information about it in advance… In the end they will do something, and it is a fact. It’s a fact that the West has woken up, it’s a fact that the illusions they had last year or the year before… when they told us to come to terms with “Georgian Dream” and to talk to them and to agree on things, – these illusions are over, and everyone understands very well what kind of power they are facing in Georgia.”

Giga Lemonjava, Droa: “The reintroduction of the Russian law into the political agenda serves to undermine democracy in Georgia, it is a step against the European future of Georgia. That is why I do not exclude that the initiators of this law and first of all the Russian oligarch [Bidzina] Ivanishvili, who is an unofficial ruler of this country, will be put under international sanctions. This will be both politically and legally logical”.

Nika Gvaramia, Ahali: “I am sure that the Georgian Dream should not expect anything good, clearly, because if you go towards Russia, you should know that: a) you have no way to the West and b) the West will also take steps that you deserve. That’s the way it is, the West always takes steps that you deserve; if you deserve more integration, help and support, then they take appropriate steps. If you deserve a harsh attitude for integration with Russia, then they [the West] will take the appropriate steps. There is nothing surprising about it, the only thing is that such a harsh statement indicates that the steps would be particularly harsh, as they should be.”

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