Georgian People’s Act Envisaging Sanctions and Review of US-Georgia Relations Introduced in U.S. Senate

U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), along with Senators Risch (R-Idaho), Ben Cardin (D-MD), and Pete Rickets (R-Neb.), introduced a bill in the US Senate on May 23 entitled To Support Democracy and the Rule of Law in Georgia, and for Other Purposes, or the ‘‘Georgian People’s Act” (’’GPA”.)

The Bill envisages a series of measures in response to the Georgian government’s recent acts and policies, including sanctions on Georgian officials, a review of foreign assistance, and a reassessment of the existing bilateral relations. The bill also reaffirms the US commitment to the people of Georgia, civil society and democracy.

The GPA takes stock of the U.S.-Georgia relations since Georgia regained its independence and stresses that the recent developments are breaking these relations’ continuity and spirit. It mentions the re-introduction of the “Law on Transparency of Foreign Influence’’, the large-scale protests that followed, the disproportionate force used against the protesters, the ejection of the opposition MPs from the parliamentary hearings, the anti-Western and anti-US rhetoric by the GD officials, including Bidzina Ivanishvili speech on government rally on April 29, continuing intimidation and threats against the opposition, attacks on journalist and civil society. It then specifics conditions of engagement with Georgia under these changed conditions, envisaging sanctions on individuals and the revision of assistance priorities.

The bill calls on the Georgian government to address the identified issues and impose swift consequences on individuals “who are directly responsible for leading or have directly and knowingly engaged in leading, actions or policies that significantly undermine the peace, security, stability, sovereignty, or territorial integrity of Georgia, to continue on the reforms path and on the path to Euro-Atlantic integration, as well as continue to contribute to international efforts to counter Russian aggression, “including through sanctions on trade with Russia and the implementation and enforcement of worldwide sanctions on Russia.”

The bill also calls on the Georgian government to “release all persons detained or imprisoned on politically motivated grounds and drop any pending charges against them”, to respect the freedom of assembly and expression and to ensure “that the national elections scheduled for October 2024 are free, fair, and reflective of the will of the Georgian people.”


The bill stresses that “it shall be the policy of the United States to support the constitutionally stated aspirations of Georgia” to become a member of the EU and NATO and says that the acts of blocking Euro-Atlantic integration of Georgia “due to undue influence from corrupt of oligarchic forces constitute a form of corruption.” Therefore, the resolution says the U.S. should consider traveling restrictions or sanctions on individuals responsible for any actions preventing Georgia from moving toward Euro-Atlantic integration, such as “acts of violence or intimidation against Georgian citizens, members of civil society, and members of an opposition political party.”

The GPA states that the U.S., in response to recent events in Georgia, should reassess whether recent actions undertaken by individuals in Georgia should result in the imposition of sanctions by the United States for acts of significant corruption and human rights abuses. The bill says that “the U.S. should consider revoking the visas of nationals of Georgia and their family members who live in the U.S.” and those officials of the Georgian government “who have knowingly engaged in significant acts of corruption, or acts of violence or intimidation in relation to the blocking of Euro-Atlantic integration in Georgia.”

According to the bill, this reassessment should go back as far as 2012, covering those individuals who have served “as a member of the Parliament of 1the Government of Georgia, as a senior staff member of the Parliament of the Government of Georgia, or as a current or former senior official of a Georgian political party, as well as any individual who is serving as an official in a leadership position working on behalf of the Government of Georgia, including law enforcement, intelligence, judicial, or local or municipal government. Notably, these individuals and their immediate family members may also be subject to visa revocation.

The bill also envisages sanctions for undermining Georgia’s peace, security, stability, sovereignty, and territorial integrity. These sanctions will touch on the persons responsible as well as their immediate family members and include blocking of property, ineligibility for visas, admission or parole, and revocation of visas.

If the Georgian government proceeds to pass the foreign agents’ law and other legislation inhibiting its ability to integrate into the EU, the bill says the U.S. government should reassess its policy towards Georgia and review “all forms of foreign and security assistance made available to the Government of Georgia.”

Comprehensive Review of Foreign Assistance

The resolution tasks the State Secretary, not later than 60 days after the date of the enactment of the Act, and in coordination with the USAID Administrator and other relevant Federal agencies, to submit a report to the appropriate congressional committees outlining all assistance provided by any United States Government to the Government of Georgia that are not explicitly focused on democracy or the rule of law and to provide a detailed overview of each project and its funding allocations.

The bill authorizes suspension “of all those projects carried out by the Department of State or other United States Government agencies that primarily provide material aid, reputational advantage, or sustenance to state actors, officials, or their proxies who undermine the democracy of Georgia and enable Russian aggression within and outside of Georgia.”

The bill says the US-Georgia Strategic Dialogue – a key instrument of bilateral cooperation between the two countries, should also be suspended.

Defense Cooperation Maintained

As for Defense cooperation, the bill emphasizes strong defense cooperation with Georgia and expresses appreciation for Georgia’s significant contribution to international peace missions, including NATO-led operations in Afghanistan and others. It says that the U.S. should, to the extent possible, sustain strong ties between the United States military and the Georgian Ministry of Defense.

Additional Measures to Support the Georgian People

The act stresses the policy of the U.S. “to continue supporting the ongoing development of democratic including free and fair elections, freedom of association, an independent and accountable judiciary, an independent media, public-sector transparency and accountability, the rule of law, countering malign influence, and anticorruption efforts.”

The GPA pledges for the U.S. is set to continue:

  • to support sovereignty and territorial integrity,
  • to support the Georgian people and CSOs that reflect the aspirations of the Georgian people for democracy and a future with the people of Europe;
  • to support the capacity of the Government of Georgia to protect its sovereignty and territorial integrity from further Russian aggression or encroachment;
  • to support domestic and international efforts, including polling, pre-election, and election-day observation efforts, to support the execution of free and fair elections in Georgia in October 2024;
  • to support the right of the Georgian people to freely engage in peaceful protest, determine their future, and make independent and sovereign choices on foreign and security policy, including regarding Georgia’s relationship with other countries and international organizations, without interference, intimidation, or coercion by other countries or those acting on their behalf.

In response to the passage of the foreign agents law, the Secretary and the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development shall undertake a review of efforts to determine— how best to continue providing support to civil society and independent media organizations in Georgia and whether additional funds should be allocated to the National Endowment for Democracy for initiatives in Georgia.

The bill specifies that the State Secretary, in coordination with relevant agencies, should submit one more document—a report on disinformation and corruption in Georgia—no later than 120 days after the date of the bill’s publication. In the same period, the report on political prisoners in Georgia should be submitted as well.

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


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