In Georgia, people are protesting against the Russian-style “agents” law. There could be brutal police violence.

Demonstration with flags.

Pro-Western demonstration on April 15 in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi. Photo: Shakh Aivazov/ap

You can trust the Georgians. Thousands of protesters are once again in front of the parliament building in the capital, Tbilisi. Their unbridled anger is directed against a “foreign agents” bill.

This is apparently a transparency initiative of the ruling Georgian Dream (KO) party regarding financial support to non-governmental organizations abroad. Are you kidding? Are you serious? In reality, this regulation based on the Russian model is an instrument to slow down and, ultimately, silence an alert and, in some cases, extremely critical civil society.

But this project could turn out to be counterproductive, as happened in March of last year. The government finally had to abandon a first variant of the agents law after nationwide protests. By the way, this “street victory” was one of the reasons why Georgia received in December 2023 the EU candidate status that many residents of the South Caucasus republic were eagerly awaiting.

the young generation

And that is exactly what it is about now: a European future for the country, which representatives of the younger generation in particular do not want to miss. But the KO is on the way to losing this perspective.

Instead of finally getting to work on Brussels' to-do list – which includes, among other things, passing laws to protect individual rights – the government is leaning increasingly towards Russia and authoritarianism in the name of maintaining its own power and six months before the parliamentary elections.

But for many Georgians, Russia as a model no longer exists. That is why there are likely to be more protests in the coming days, even at the price of becoming a victim of brutal police violence or ending up in prison. It could be hot in Georgia, and not just this spring.

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