The pro-government Georgian parliamentary group “Power of the People” has developed and registered in the Georgian parliament two draft laws under a shared provisional name “On Foreign Agents”. The initiatives stipulate that all non-governmental organizations and media funded from abroad must register with the State Registry Service as foreign agents. The Georgian Dream party supported the initiative.

Nearly 400 Georgian NGOs and the parliamentary opposition sharply criticized both versions of the draft bill. The President of Georgia, Salome Zourabichvili, has not supported the initiative.

The European Union also has a negative position on the idea. The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, criticized the draft law “On Transparency of Foreign Influence”, which copies the Russian law on “foreign agents”.

In addition, the document was criticized by the US State Department spokesman, Ned Price. He said that its adoption “will create a potential threat to Georgia's Euro-Atlantic integration.”

The European Platform for Democratic Elections (EPDE), where Civil Network OPORA is a member, in their statement, called the Law on “Foreign Agents” in Georgia “an attack against civil society”. At the same time, the European Network of Election Observation Organizations (ENEMO), which also includes OPORA, emphasized that the adoption of this draft law opens the way for undue pressure on Georgian civil society organizations, media, and human rights lawyers.

In their statement, the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) said that “the Russian law is not about Georgia's will.” “This is not the type of government we have fought for many years, and Russian legislation is definitely not the type of government that Georgian citizens seek in our country,” the statement said, supported by nearly 400 non-governmental organizations and Georgian media. 

Civil Network OPORA expresses our support and solidarity to the non-governmental sector and citizens of Georgia. We hereby emphasize that the adoption of such a law will build a negative practice and will affect civil society and democracy in general.  

OPORA emphasizes that replicating negative practices, as pro-government political forces in Georgia want to do, can lead to authoritarianism, persecution of independent organizations and the media, as well as human rights encroachments.

We hereby remind that the introduction of the concept of “foreign agent” into the legislation was part of the dictatorial laws of January 16, 2014, that Viktor Yanukovych and the Party of Regions tried to use to destroy civil society and democratic values. However, the effort failed due to proactive position of Ukrainian society that stood up for freedom, democracy, and dignity.