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Europe or Russia? Georgians protest the ‘Foreign Agents Bill’

Protesters at the parliament in Tbilisi, Georgia on Friday. (Nicolo Vincenzo Malvestuto/YJI)

Tbilisi, GEORGIA – It’s been a while since the ruling party Georgian Dream reintroduced the so-called “Foreign Agents Bill” for a second time, just changing the name “Foreign Influence Bill.”

The legislation would mandates organizations, media, NGOs and legal entities whose funding exceeds 20% from abroad should register as agents of foreign influence and fill the annual declaration.

A crowd of protesters at the Georgian parliament building on Friday. (Nicolo Vincenzo Malvestuto/YJI)

Through the EU perspective of Georgia, the Euro Parliament in Brussels is already talking about putting sanctions on the oligarch Bidzina Ivanishvili. He is a former prime minister of Georgia and a founder of the ruling party, Georgian Dream.

Brussels may move to restrict Georgia from EU visa liberalization. Many Georgians want to join the European family since getting the country won EU candidate status in early December 2023.

Friday at the parliament building in Tbilisi. (Nicolo Vincenzo Malvestuto/YJI)

The main question still remains:  why is only Russia positively impressed by this law? Many of the leaders from the Russian Federation, such as Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, have defended Georgia’s divisive proposed law.

But the will of the Georgian people remains the same. The truth is that what people here call the “Russian Law” would establish Vladimir Putin’s rules in Georgia, and lower our chances to be part of the European Union.

Not all protesters are anonymous. (Nicolo Vincenzo Malvestuto/YJI)

The Georgian Parliament already passed two of three readings of the controversial bill, which is supported by 83 members of the Georgian Dream party.

Still, protests held by the opposition and NGOs against the “Foreign Agents Bill” continue and it remains unclear what the government’s real purpose is with this step.

Nicolo Vincenzo Malvestuto is a Reporter with Youth Journalism International.

See more coverage of Georgian protests this week:

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