The Hill: U.S. Rep. Wilson Initiates Bill Calling for Sanctioning Georgian Officials Over Agents’ Law

On May 19, The Hill reported that U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) is preparing a bill that would impose sanctions, including visa bans on Georgian government officials responsible for passing the Foreign Agents law. Wilson’s bill, as well as similar legislation in the Senate, is intended to warn Georgian Dream not to override the President’s veto and repeal the law or face U.S. consequences.

“The situation in Georgia is heartbreaking. The Georgian people are an embodiment of freedom and continue to inspire Americans… Sadly, the pro-Russian [Georgian Dream] government is going against patriotic Georgians who reject life in the Kremlin’s dark ages. The repression of freedom-loving Georgians must stop, and the U.S. stands firm in calling for a return of democratic norms and values,” – Wilson said in a statement to The Hill. 

According to The Hill the bill, which is likely to be introduced Monday, May 20 could relatively easily pass through the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Wilson’s also bill calls for the Biden administration to report on Russian intelligence assets in Georgia and the extent of Chinese influence and any malign Sino-Russian cooperation in the country. It also requires the executive branch to report to Congress on “nodes of improper political influence, kleptocracy, and elite corruption in Georgia,” particularly if they serve to aid Russia.

The bill also calls for information on whether individuals in Georgia have evaded international sanctions against Russia, which were imposed after its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. In addition, it calls for sanctions against individuals working on behalf of the government who are found to have been involved in human rights abuses.

The bill aims to support Georgia’s opposition if the Foreign Agent law is enacted and proposes the creation of a “democracy monitoring task force” to oversee the democratic process before the elections. It simultaneously offers incentives if the foreign agent law is repealed, including enhanced trade relations, increased opportunities for Georgians to travel and study in the U.S., and economic assistance. Additionally, it calls for the U.S. President to provide training, support, and defense equipment to help Georgia defend against Russian aggression.

However, the benefits Wilson outlines in his bill can only be enacted if the executive branch can verify that Georgia is making “significant and sustained progress towards reinvigorating its democracy, evidenced at minimum by substantially fair and free elections and a balanced pre-election environment.” 

“The progress made by the Georgian people and civil society in forging an innovative and productive society, imbued with democratic spirit, should be acknowledged,” – Wilson’s bill text reads. 

This bill was also seen by Politico, which reports that in an effort to “protect and secure democracy,” the bill calls for imposition of sanctions on government officials and others who “have material responsibility for undermining or injuring democracy, human rights, or security in Georgia,” and it would impose visa bans on politicians and the families of politicians responsible for passing “the recent Russia-style foreign agent legislation.” The sanctions would also target Georgian law enforcement and security services that have cracked down on protests against the foreign agents law.

Note: This news was updated at 17:08 on May 20 to include Politico’s review of the bill.

Also Read:

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

Exit mobile version