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The Daily Beat: 23 May

Prime Minister Irakli Kobakhidze posted an official statement, saying that he was being routinely blackmailed by “high-ranking foreign politicians,” but was “particularly aghast” during the phone conversation with the unnamed EU Commissioner, who “listed the range of measures that Western politicians may take if we overcome the veto” and, in this context, PM Kobakhidze’s statement mentioned the fate of Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico.

While the Georgian public and almost the entire international community were wondering which EU Commissioners dared to “threaten” the Georgian PM, European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, Olivér Várhelyi issued a statement denying accusations by Prime Minister Kobakhidze. Commissioner Várhelyi expressed “very sincere regret” that a certain part of the phone conversation with the Georgian Prime Minister “was taken out of context” and “presented to the public in a way which could give rise to a complete misinterpretation of the originally intended aim” of the phone call.

Irakli Shotadze, Georgia’s Prosecutor General, unexpectedly resigned due to “deteriorating health,” the Prosecutor’s Office announced on May 23. According to Shotadze, he decided to step down on the recommendation of doctors. Irakli Shotadze has been the Prosecutor General of Georgia since 2020. Opposition representatives claim that Shotadze’s surprise resignation is a sign of the collapse of Bidzina Ivanishvili’s regime.

On May 23, the European Court of Human Rights ruled in the case of Saakashvili v. Georgia that there is no reason to doubt the fairness of the criminal proceedings against former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili. Saakashvili appealed to the ECHR in 2020 against two guilty verdicts handed down against him by the Tbilisi City Court in 2018.

The French National Assembly adoptedresolution on Georgia condemning the illiberal drift of the Georgian government, supporting Georgia’s European destiny, and “strongly urging” the Georgian government to repeal the foreign agents law. The resolution also condemns the police crackdown on demonstrators protesting against the Law on Foreign Agents, the arbitrary detentions, and the campaign of intimidation and harassment against opponents of the government.

The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) delegation headed by Director Matteo Mecacci is visiting Georgia where the delegation already held meetings with President Salome Zurabishvili and Speaker Shalva Papuashvili. According to the President’s Administration, during the meeting, the President discussed the potential impact of the Law on Foreign Agents on Georgia’s democracy and European integration, stressing the importance of maintaining a peaceful and stable pre-election environment.

Andrey Lugovoy, a Russian MP who the UK had implicated in the 2006 murder of Alexander Litvinenko, commented on developments around the Law on Foreign Agents, saying that compared to similar laws in the US, UK, and some European states, the Georgian law is very liberal. “Now Georgians will have an opportunity to compare how Russia has been acting in recent years and how these unfriendly countries have been acting. I think now the citizens of this country will see the disrespectful attitude towards them and their sovereignty” Polonium killer Lugavoy said.  

Almost a month after the brutal beating of the chairman of the opposition United National Movement (UNM), Levan Khabeishvili, during protests against the law on foreign agents, the prosecutor’s office officially recognized him as an injured party, the UNM said in a statement, adding that this information was delivered to the party by a detective of the Special Investigation Service.


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