State Security Service 2023 Report

The State Security Service of Georgia (SSSG) has published its annual report for 2023, according to which the main threat to the country in 2023 remained the Russian occupation of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions of Georgia.

Among other challenges, the report mentions the activities of special services of foreign countries with the aim of “gaining leverage over Georgia and initiating processes of their interests in the country” using the so-called “hybrid war” instruments; it also mentions the disinformation and propaganda campaigns against Georgia, including with the aim of damaging the country’s image in the international arena; the document also notes that “various domestic and foreign actors have tried to prepare the ground and mobilize resources to inflame the political situation and change the government by violent means.”

In addition, the document notes that in 2023, “military activities in Ukraine have created additional challenges to the already difficult regional security environment, globally halted the sustainable and stable development of countries and increased the probability of maintaining and deepening the social-economic crises.”

Occupied Territories

The Russian occupation of the Georgian territories of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali and its subsequent processes are identified as the main threat to Georgia’s national security in 2023.

The military bases in the two occupied territories continued to conduct illegal military activities, including exercises and rotation of military personnel, the report says. Dozens of military exercises were conducted for the special Russian forces involved in the war of aggression against Ukraine. In addition, the occupying power has been using the “volunteers” living in the occupied territories in its war against Ukraine.

The report also highlights the policy of russification of the occupying power as part of its annexation policy. This is reflected in the implementation of educational projects in the occupied districts of Gali and Akhalgori, which were mainly focused on teaching the Russian language. In Abkhazia, the “department” of the Russian Historical Society was opened in 2023, where Abkhaz and Russian historians will work together. According to the report, the goal of such steps is to spread disinformation, alienate the people living on different sides of the occupation line and extract the people living in the Gali and Akhalgori districts from the Georgian socio-cultural sphere.

In 2023, 37 Georgian citizens were illegally detained near the occupation line in Tskhinvali and 26 near the occupation line in Abkhazia. At the end of 2023, a total of eight citizens remained in illegal detention. In 2023, two Georgian citizens, one in Tskhinvali – Tamaz Ginturi, and another in Abkhazia – Vitali (Temur) Karbaia, were killed by the occupying forces.

The report stresses that illegal detentions and killings of Georgian citizens create a syndrome of impunity in the occupied territories and encourage criminal practices.

Throughout 2023, the process of illegal borderizaion continued: there were 39 cases of borderization instances in the Tskhinvali region and three cases in Abkhazia.


The report highlights several manifestations of annexation, including the illegal transfer of the Bichvinta dacha to Russia, saying that with this fact Russia has shown that any protest against it yields no result. In order to minimize the discontent of the local population on this issue, Russia claimed to the local people that the refusal to transfer was in the interest of the Georgian government and would “damage the relations” between Russia and Abkhazia.

The report notes that the meetings of the occupying regime with the representatives of the Russian authorities often preceded important decisions, as in the case of the plan to open a permanent naval base in Ochamchire. The report says that Russia aims to use the Ochamchire port as another lever for the military-strategic control of the Black Sea.

The report also notes the issue of reconstruction of Sokhumi airport, saying that it will be another tool for Russia to strengthen its political and economic positions in the region.

The so-called “Apartment Law,” which, if passed, will allow foreigners to legally buy residential property in Abkhazia, is mentioned in the report as another instrument of annexation policy, as Russians will be allowed to buy the property and create “an sizable demographic imbalance” in the region.

In 2023, an agreement allowing dual citizenship between Russia and occupied Abkhazia was ratified by the Russian State Duma.

In terms of economic dependence, the report notes that in 2023, cargo turnover between Russia and Abkhazia amounted to USD 414.7 million, which was 70 percent higher than in 2018. The report adds that about 41 percent (USD 65 million) of the so-called “budget” of occupied Abkhazia (about USD 159 million) was financed by the Russian tranche.

The report also says that in 2023, the occupying regime took the decision which have significantly limited the work of the international organizations and UN agencies in Abkhazia. By doing so, the occupation regime has tried to maximize Russia’s influence and minimize contacts between the Abkhaz and Georgian peoples.


The annexation of the occupied Tskhinvali region remained an important threat in 2023, as the issue of joining Russia was periodically raised. In this regard, the report quotes Alan Gagloev, the de facto president of occupied Tskhinvali, as saying that the majority of the population of Tskhinvali considers itself “part of Russia.”

In 2023, Russia deliberately tried to introduce the concept of so-called Eastern Ossetia, which aimed to claim to the Truso Gorge, controlled by the Georgian government and to portray Georgia as an aggressor that had “seized” the territories of occupied Tskhinvali.

The so-called “budget” of the occupied Tskhinvali region was about USD 107 million, of which about 78 percent (USD 83.2 million) was financed by Russia. As per economic issues, the report also highlights that in 2023, there were discussions of increasing the capacity of customs checkpoints and eliminating customs duties.

State Security and Counter-Intelligence

According to the report, the war in Ukraine has increased the risk of a protracted conflict and added challenges to the already difficult security situation in the region. The report emphasizes that the security environment has been particularly affected by Russia’s statements about the possibility of using nuclear weapons.

The report also notes that “in October-December 2023, a certain group of people working on the territory of Georgia and outside of it planned to destabilize and organize civil unrest, the ultimate goal of which was to change the government by violent means.” According to the report, the destructive processes were planned to start in parallel with the decisions on Georgia’s EU candidate status. The SSSG says that these plans were coordinated and financially supported “by the foreign countries.” The SSSG adds that the fighters of Georgian origin in Ukraine and the Georgian youth under the influence of these forces, “trained near the Polish-Ukrainian border”, were to be used for this purpose.

The report also states that in 2023, individuals and groups linked to foreign special services continued their attempts to stir up anti-Western sentiments in the country, damage Georgia’s relations with strategic partners and Western institutions, polarize society, and worsen the socio-economic situation. According to the SSSG, their activities prioritized taking positions in ethnic and religious minorities that could have been used to inspire destructive processes, including deepening ethnic and religious feud to put pressure on the government. The SSSG also says that these individuals attempted to build relationships with local media and specific groups in order to use them for their interests.

According to the report, the counterintelligence activities of the SSSG revealed that the interests of foreign special services included political and socio-economic processes in Georgia, public sentiments, the ratings of political parties and their chances of winning the upcoming parliamentary elections in October 2024. In addition, some special services were interested in the activities of Georgian law enforcement agencies.

Disinformation and Hybrid War

In 2023, the tools of hybrid warfare included soft power, clandestine operations, and information campaigns.

According to the report, the main goal of the information war against Georgia in 2023 was to stir up anti-Western sentiment in the country, delay Georgia’s integration into Euro-Atlantic structures, damage the country’s relations with its strategic partners, discredit the image of Georgia as a democratic country with Western values, increase public distrust and dissatisfaction with state institutions, and increase polarization in society. According to the SSSG report, some media outlets made “provocative” statements that threatened to deepen discontent in regions inhabited by ethnic and religious minorities. It adds that certain groups within and outside the country also spread nationalist statements, false and distorted information, and anti-Georgian narratives.

With regard to soft power and clandestine operations, the report states that foreign special services attempted to establish relations with Georgian educational circles, including students, civic activists, and experts, in order to propagate the political agenda and ideology of their governments, collect information about ongoing processes in Georgia, and influence social life in Georgia. For this purpose, according to the SSSG, educational seminars, conferences, and cultural events were actively used.

Terrorism and Cyber Security

Terrorism-related threats and challenges remained the same in 2023. These included the possible return of Georgian citizens currently fighting with DAESH and Al-Qaeda in Syria and Iraq, the infiltration of international terrorists and the possible use of Georgian territory by terrorist organizations for transit purposes, attempts to finance from Georgia terrorist organizations, and the possible recruitment of Georgian citizens by terrorist organizations.

The SSSG notes that there were no terrorist acts in Georgia during the year. It also says that the possibility of terrorist financing in Georgia has decreased significantly.

In 2023, the SSSG LEPL Operative-Technical Agency responded to 140 cases of cyber incidents targeting the 1st category of critical infrastructure – state entities.

Fight against corruption

In 2023, the Service’s anti-corruption agency opened 47 criminal cases and 72 people were charged with crimes such as bribery, abuse of office, influence peddling, illegal entrepreneurial activity, and others.

Also Read:

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


Back to top button