NewsThe Daily Beat

The Daily Beat: 22 April

Popular protests against the Foreign Agents Law continue for the eighth day in a row. An unexpectedly large number of citizens of all generations, but mostly youth and students, gathered near the Parliament on April 22, once again blocking Rustaveli Avenue.

While pro-EU protests continue in Tbilisi, the ruling Georgian Dream party announced a “national gathering,” calling on its supporters to convene in front of the Parliament building on April 29 and stand against financing revolutions, attacking the Orthodox Church, LGBT propaganda, and discrediting state institutions. According to pro-government POSTV, GD founder and honorary Chairman Bidzina Ivanishvili is expected to address the rally.

Meanwhile, on an evening stroll through Tbilisi’s central parks, in contrast to the chanting of young protesters, older people can be heard silently talking to each other, saying: “The government plans to mobilize about a hundred thousand people; it won’t be easy; Moscow will not let us go so easily,” further noting with some degree of despair in their voice that “peace must be maintained at any cost.”

At the press conference following the meeting of EU Foreign Ministers in Luxembourg on April 22, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell said that the ministers had discussed the situation in Georgia and “expressed their concern” about “the law on transparency.” He recalled that the Georgian government committed to withdrawing the bill and not reintroducing it again, further noting that this commitment “has not been fulfilled.”

Online media outlet RealPolitika reported, citing EU sources, that following the adoption of the Foreign Agents Law in the first reading, the Georgian Ambassador to Germany, Levan Izoria, was summoned to the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Bundestag. At the closed meeting, the Georgian Ambassador is expected to talk about the GD-initiated Foreign Agents law and the ongoing political situation in the country. 

The Russian National Research Institute for Communication Development (NIIRK), led by Russia’s former foreign intelligence and FSB officials, co-organized a discussion on “Traditional Values as a Factor of Connecting Countries and People” in Tbilisi, according to the agenda published by NIIRK. The meeting was held at an undisclosed location and hosted by two Kremlin-affiliated entities in Georgia, the Eurasian Institute and the SIKHA Foundation.

The ruling majority launched public discussions on anti-LGBT legislation, putting particular emphasis on the “protection of family values and minors.” The first meeting was held on April 22 in Kutaisi. According to the official press release, from April 22 to 27, the organizing commission headed by the Parliament Speaker, Shalva Papuashvili, will hold meetings with the local population in the Georgian cities of Kutaisi, Ambrolauri, Ozurgeti, Batumi, Zugdidi and Mestia.

Prime Minister Irakli Kobakhidze is set to address the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), a gathering of ultra-conservative politicians, in Budapest on April 25. “Wokebusters: Let’s Drain the Swamp!” is the motto of the third annual CPAC in Budapest. According to the conference agenda, the discussions will evolve in panels titled “Sovereignty Lives, Globalism Dies,” “Save the West, Protect the Borders,” and “We Win, They Lose – 2024, an Election Superyear.”

On Sunday evening, an unidentified account on a Russian social network, Telegram, disseminated disturbing content, threatening to carry out brutal terror attacks on several Tbilisi schools. The counter-terrorism units of the State Security Service reacted promptly, but no explosives or devices were found in schools. On Monday, the Education Ministry released a statement, saying that school studies have not been officially canceled, further reassuring the public that all the “necessary measures” are being taken in schools.  

The Data of the Day

The National Tourism Administration reported that 938,644 tourists visited Georgia in the first quarter of 2024, an 11% increase from the same period last year. Given statistical data, this number of visitors represents a 6.4% recovery of the pre-pandemic data.

According to the tourism agency, visitors from Poland are topping the list, followed by Germany and the United Kingdom. The number of visitors from Russia decreased by 16.1% compared to the same period last year, to 215,468 people.


Back to top button