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The Daily Beat: 19 June

Speaking with journalists after meeting with the local human rights watchdog Georgia’s Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA), the head of the EU Delegation to Georgia Paweł Herczyńsky said that the adoption of the Foreign Agents law “has frozen Georgia’s EU integration” and that the EU will discuss the “consequences” of this decision next week at the level of Foreign Ministers, which will be followed by the discussion at the Heads of States’ level.

U.S. Ambassador to Georgia Robin Dunnigan gave a wide-ranging interview to the news agency IPN. She spoke about the deterioration of relations with Georgia due to Tbilisi’s “extremely concerning steps” and urged the Georgian authorities to change course promptly to avoid further sanctions. She also spoke about the dangers of awarding the Anaklia Deep Sea Port construction project to a Chinese state-affiliated company.

Ekho Kavkaza, the Russian-language service of RFE/RLreported that four Georgian athletes were to take part in the BRICS Games in the Russian city of Kazan. They were officially invited to compete in “Koresh” wrestling, a type of belt wrestling. However, as Giorgi Chitashvili, head of the Georgian Koresh Federation, told Ekho Kavkaza, the athletes and representatives of the federation refused to participate after they learned that athletes from the occupied Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region would be taking part in the games.

The appearance of the Georgian flag at the opening ceremony of the BRICS Games in the Russian city of Kazan on June 12, along with the “state flags” of the occupied Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions of Georgia sparked controversy. The event was also addressed by Vladimir Putin via video link.  

The Special Investigation Service (SIS) reported that it issued resolutions regarding the “Tsintsabadze Group” cases based on the recommendations issued by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. The SIS decided to continue the investigation into the “Ochigava v. Georgia” case but determined that re-investigating the “Machalikashvili and Others v. Georgia” case was unnecessary.

The Interior Ministry reported the arrest of 27 people for drug-related crimes, including 15 drug traffickers. Various types of large and particularly large quantities of narcotics were seized by law enforcement officials as evidence. Based on the judge’s decision, the police made several control purchases of drugs and secretly audio-videotaped these purchases. The incriminated crimes are punishable by up to 20 years or life imprisonment.

Giorgi Tsagareishvili has been appointed as a new Deputy Minister of Internally Displaced Persons from Occupied Territories, Labor, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia, the Ministry reported on June 19. Since 2022, Giorgi Tsagareishvili has been an MP of the ruling Georgian Dream party in the 10th convocation of the Parliament and the First Deputy Chairman of the GD faction.

The Data of the Day

National Statistics Office published preliminary data indicating that in January-May 2024, Georgia’s foreign trade decreased by 2.2% compared to the same period of 2023, totaling $8.432 billion in value. In January-May 2024, exports from Georgia decreased by 9.2% to $2.274 billion, while imports increased by 0.7% to $6.158 billion. According to the same preliminary data, Turkey was Georgia’s largest trade partner with $1.254 billion in trade volume, followed by Russia with $1.004 billion, China with $692 million, the United States with $500 million, and Azerbaijan with $422 million.

Another preliminary data released by the National Statistics Office (Geostat) suggests that Georgia’s real GDP increased by 8.4% year-over-year and amounted to GEL 19 billion (USD 6.691 billion) during the first quarter of 2024. According to Geostat, the growth was registered in real estate activities (18.8%); education (29.1%); public administration and defense, and compulsory social security (13.0%); construction (10.3%); information and communication (12.2%); transportation and storage (9.7%).

On June 19, the Monetary Policy Committee of the National Bank of Georgia (NBG) decided to keep the key refinancing rate unchanged at 8%. The Central Bank notes the lowered inflation forecast, stating that, all things being equal, inflation will remain below the 3% target in early 2024 and stabilize around it in the medium term.


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