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Domestic Reactions to First Tranche of U.S. Sanctions on Georgian Individuals

On June 6, the U.S. State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller announced the first tranche of visa sanctions against “dozens” of Georgian individuals, including members of the Georgian Dream party, MPs, law enforcement officials and private citizens.

We compiled the initial reactions to the sanctions’ announcement from across the Georgian political spectrum:

Ruling majority

Tea Tsulukiani, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Culture and Sports: “This is fresh news and it could be boldly said that this is yet another mistake that the U.S. is making, unfortunately for them and for us, in the relationship with its strategic partner. …We can assume that after this new mistake, other mistakes will be made; we hope not, but the dynamics make me think so… This will probably prolong the time when in our bilateral relations, when the day comes when we will turn the page and reset the relations. So that is the mistake. Of course, first of all, the U.S. very much needs to reset this relationship, we will wait for that day, we have been and are committed to our strategic partnership. We have never rejected the U.S. and the friendship with them … In fact, this government is a problem for someone, and this government, of which I have been a member for 12 consecutive years, has never taken a step against this strategic partnership. We will wait patiently for the day when our friend decides to talk to us in a friendly way again and refuses to finance the revolution.”

Kakha Kaladze, GD Secretary General, Tbilisi Mayor: “This does not change our attitude towards the motherland. It does not change our decision when it comes to the interests of the country and the future of this country. It’s not serious, everything that’s happening…No one is afraid of these sanctions. We’ve already said it once…. Accordingly, we have declared our policy that we protect the country’s interest. It’s not a problem for someone, to either go or not go somewhere, for me it is of no essential importance when we are talking about the country and homeland.”

Mamuka Mdinaradze, GD MP, leader of the parliamentary majority: “I still think we should approach this issue more seriously. For example, we have the right to know, after all, whether we are the first lawmakers in the world to be sanctioned for passing a law! The Georgian opposition also has the right to be satisfied with concrete news and not with general indications announced for the tenth time. It is an inhumane treatment to force them [opposition] to express their delight without any specifics. It is even worse than calling out “Russian!” while also prohibiting getting into its essence. They do not deserve such treatment.”

Nino Tsilosani, Vice Speaker, GD MP: “I have already expressed my opinion once regarding the sanctions, and I have not really changed my opinion, but if we have to see something “positive” in all of these, it is that the political life of the opposition has been extended by a couple of days. As for who and why needs to revive the opposition who had been rejected by the Georgian people, I guess the answer to this question has become clear after the Ukraine war…I am proud to be serving my country.”

Irma Zavradashvili, GD MP: “I do not know whether this “sanction” concerns me personally or not, but if it does or will concern me in the future, it [will] once again convince me that I, as well as all [other] MPs of the Georgian Dream, have acted in an absolutely correct way… And by the way, has Blinken only now remembered that it is not allowed to publish the identity of the sanctioned? He did not seem to remember this when he sanctioned the judges [referring to the Georgian judges sanctioned by the USA in April 2023].”

Dimitri Khundadze, People’s Power: “This was just another mistake by the United States of America. If you sanction the lawmakers for passing a law, it is a pressure on the state institutions, it is democratic backsliding… I and my team would rather be sanctioned than have our country go to war through Maidanization and our citizens, especially the youth, get papers to enlist in the war”.


Badri Japaridze, Lelo for Georgia: “The U.S. has repeatedly stated that it stands by the Georgian people, and it was precisely to protect the interests of the Georgian people that the first wave of sanctions was implemented against dozens of representatives of the “Georgian Dream” government.  These people were sanctioned because they betrayed the national interests of the country and acted not in the interests of the Georgian people but in the interests of the Russian government. They passed a law that isolates the country from the Western world, against the will of 80 percent of the Georgian people, because it excludes the start of negotiations with the European Union. This is a law that discriminates a large part of society, and in its essence contradicts the Constitution of Georgia. Therefore, the initiators of this law and the high-ranking police officers, on whose instructions [the law enforces] brutally assaulted the peaceful demonstrators, must be held accountable, and that is why sanctions have been imposed on them. The main victory lies ahead of us on October 26.“

Mikheil Daushvili, For Georgia: “The reality is that concrete people who are the leaders of Georgian Dream today and who hold various positions they are in fact they protecting… themselves and their property which they acquired through corruption and other ways and at the expense of the state interests… Today, the main responsibility lies with the GD and its leaders to come to their senses and make decisions not to harm this country anymore.”

Teona Akubardia, Reformists Group: “Imposing sanctions on the leaders or members of the “Georgian Dream” is the worst situation that the “Georgian Dream” has created for the country and each citizen… It was once again revealed what a difficult situation they put the Georgian people in. Sanctions are an expression of the support of the Georgian people on the part of our strategic partner for democracy and the country’s accession to the European family. Despite the month-and-a-half dialogue, this is another attempt to return the country to constitutional space. The State Department’s emphasis on withdrawing from the Constitution means just that. Consequently, the support of Georgian people increases through sanctions, so that we remain on the watch of the democratic and European course. This is an additional message to the “Georgian Dream” to refrain from leading the country to the final authoritarianism. It’s also a warning that if GD continues its damaging policies, additional sanctions will follow..”

Paata Manjgaladze, Strategy Agmashenebeli: “There is only one way to get rid of this, to get rid of the sanctioned government, that we should not vote in the elections for people who are an obstacle to receiving benefits that Europe and America offer. On the one hand there are these European and American benefits, and on the other- there is a road to the Russian swamp, on which the government is heading. Therefore, the paths of the Georgian government and the “Georgian Dream” should separate. If the “Georgian Dream” wants the Russian swamp, they can go there personally, but the Georgian people have to again prove that they are a part of the civilized world.”

Alexandre Crevaux-Asatiani, UNM: “Georgia is the only country in all of Europe whose political leaders are sanctioned. Today, more people associate the Georgian government with Nicaragua and Mali than with Paris and London… I do not say this with joy, nor do I think that something positive is happening, this is a very worrying day for Georgia. Our generation had a responsibility, a duty to build an independent country with strong institutions for the future generation, instead, this period will remain in the history books as the time when Georgia got sanctioned.”

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


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