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Speaker Again Lashes Out at NED, EED, MEPs for ‘Non-transparency,’ Funding ‘Radicalism,’ Political Parties

In another lengthy social media post on May 4, Parliament Speaker Shalva Papuashvili again attacks the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and the European Endowment for Democracy (EED) accusing them of lacking transparency and funding what he called a “violent” local NGO, the Shame Movement, and, indirectly, political parties. Papuashvili notes that the EED is run by the MEPs, who “pushed for” the recent resolution criticizing the Georgian government for the Foreign Agents’ law and accuses them of using political levers to advance their interests in Georgia.

Papuashvili’s post is accompanied by a banner of the local CSO “Shame Movement” depicting a Molotov cocktail in the colors of the Ukrainian flag with the stars of the EU flag and the words “I threw it”. The banner, as Papuashvili suggests, points at the fact that such an incident occurred during last year’s March demonstrations in Tbilisi. [The “I threw it” campaign was actually initiated by the “Shame Movement” to support of Lazare Grigoriadis, who was accused of allegedly throwing a Molotov cocktail at the police and setting fire to the police car during the March 7-9 protests against the Foreign Agents Law.]

Papuashvili then goes on to attack the Shame Movement’s funding organizations. He specifically blames the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and the European Endowment for Democracy (EED) for “funding radicalism and polarisation.”

The Parliament Chair points out Damon Wilson, the President of NED, noting that he called on Georgian NGOs “to persevere in their forceful protest against the Georgian government,” and adding that he had also “promised [the local NGOs] every help in their questionable activities.”

Papuashvili letter also mentions David MacAllister, MEP and Chairman of the Board of Governors of the EED, who expressed solidarity with the protesters in Tbilisi against the foreign agents law.

Papuashvili accuses both donor organizations of being non-transparent. “What unites NED and EED is their funding of such NGOs but also their resistance to the disclosure of their funding activities in Georgia,” he said.

He says that the ruling party dropped the infamous foreign agents law in 2023 only on the understanding that foreign funding would become transparent to the Georgian public. But that has not happened, he says, stressing that NED and EED funding in Georgia is “particularly problematic because it is not transparent.”

Papuashvili further accuses NED and EED of not only being non-transparent, but also of funding political parties in Georgia, claiming that the money given to the “fake NGOs” is used by political parties. “NED and EED also indirectly fund the political parties, as their finances end up in the coffers of the fake NGOs, which are run by these political parties as foreign money-laundering machines that convert foreign democracy assistance into political cash,” alleges Papuashvili.

The Speaker notes that foreign funds also go to “radical organizations” involved in recent “violent” protests in Tbilisi against the foreign agents law, all the while arguing that these organizations “undermine the rule of law,” as “EED money has been used to pay administrative fines for violent resistance to police.”

In addition to David MacAllister, Papuashvili mentioned two other MEPs: Anna Fotyga and Michael Gahler – saying that since they are also EED governors, thus they “use political levers for their specific interests [in Georgia],” adding that they are “keeping the EED projects non-transparent”.

“The organizations that criticize the law on transparency most, are non-transparent themselves,” Papuashvili declares, adding: “We still welcome cooperation with them but NED and EED should focus on what they are created for: promoting democracy and the rule of law, not funding radicalism and polarization.”

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