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The Daily Beat: 17 June

Prime Minister Irakli Kobakhidze claims the passage of the highly controversial foreign agents law has boosted the country’s chances of advancing on the EU path. “Before the reintroduction of the foreign agents’ law, the chances for opening the EU accession negotiations were zero…Today, after the law was passed, this chance has increased to about 20-30%,” Kobakhidze told journalists.

Dmitry Peskov, the press secretary of Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russian state agencies will study the appeal of the Georgian party “Solidarity for Peace” to President Putin with a request to completely abolish the visa regime between Georgia and Russia, reports Russian state-controlled news agency TASS. “To be honest, I haven’t seen [this appeal]. But if there was one, we will see it. And, of course, our relevant agencies will study this appeal,” the Kremlin spokesman said in response to a related question.

Alexi (Buka) Petriashvili, former Minister of State for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration in the ruling Georgian Dream government in 2012-2014, has officially joined the opposition Droa party, an ally of the Girchi-More Freedom party. “I believe that today the decisive struggle is taking place in the political arena. We must all stand together in this struggle,” Petriashvili said at the Droa-Girchi More Freedom alliance briefing.

Leader of the opposition political party “European Georgia ”Giga Bokeria announced readiness for political consultations with all other pro-western political parties, suggesting creating an alternative political center to defeat the Russian regime and secure the country’s democratic and Euro-Atlantic future. “To change the current government, the people must see that Saakashvili’s United National Movement is not an alternative to Ivanishvili’s regime,” said Giga Bokeria at a party briefing.

Leri Darjania, a friend of civic activist Datuna Danelia, was attacked and severely beaten by about seven men around 8 a.m. Danelia reported about the incident on social media saying: “At 8 o’clock this morning, my friend and comrade-in-arms Leri Darjania was met by the “Titushkys” of the Georgian Dream and was physically assaulted by about 7 people”. According to him, Darjania was hospitalized with a broken nose and other facial injuries.

On June 17, journalist Tamar Sharikadze announced her resignation from the pro-government TV Imedi after five years working for the broadcaster, accusing her unnamed “immediate” supervisor of tasking her to prepare a TV story “which would encourage violence.” “I believed and still believe that I will never encourage violence anywhere! I will never endorse unverified facts that promote violence!” Sharikadze wrote on Facebook.

Prosecutor’s Office arrested 10 individuals on charges of illegally importing drugs in particularly large quantities and engaging in money laundering, following a “complex” investigation in collaboration with the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Prosecutor’s Office reported on June 17. The defendants face potential sentences from 15 to 20 years or life imprisonment.


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