Bidzina Ivanishvili, foreign agent?
Thousands have been demonstrating in front of the Georgian parliament in Tbilisi over the past few days, protesting the first reading adoption of a draft law on "foreign agents". Between the lines is a hint of Russia – which adopted a similar text in 2012 before extending its scope in 2019. The highly volatile bill even provoked a brawl between members of parliament on 6 March.
The law would force organisations receiving more than 20 percent of their funding from a country other than Georgia to register as "foreign agents".
The decision of the Georgian parliament, currently led by Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia (KO-DS, centre-left), a party founded by pro-Russian oligarch and former prime minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, puts a damper on the country’s bid for EU membership. The country applied for EU membership last year along with Moldova and Ukraine, when the Russian invasion was in its early stages.