Roundtable and Discussion on Upheaval in Georgia

For weeks, Georgia has been rocked again by popular protests over the ruling party Georgian Dream’s reintroduction of the unsuccessful ‘foreign agent’ bill, previously revoked in March 2023 after large-scale protests. The bill forces any non-governmental or media organisation with more than 20% foreign funding to register as an agent of foreign influence.
The reintroduction of the bill, designed to mimic existing Russian legislation clamping down on civil society, has been met with even larger scale protests within Georgia, and global condemnation from the EU, US, and UK. If passed into law, the bill is likely to alter Georgia’s hard-fought European path away from the EU and towards the Kremlin.
The turmoil comes after Georgia secured EU candidate status at the end of last year, with the requirement to fulfil nine recommendations, issued by the European commission, aimed at strengthening democratic institutions and increasing the robustness of Georgian civil society and independent media.
The re-introduction of the bill has this time been accompanied with newly explicit anti-Western and conspiracist rhetoric from a ruling party that has unleashed unprecedented violence and intimidation against protestors.
Considering upcoming elections in Georgia in October 2024, and the tense geopolitical climate in the region created after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the existing crisis brings up several pressing questions which we will address at this event.
Speakers joining in person:
Professor Andrew Wilson, University College London SSEES
Dr Max Fras, The London School of Economics
Dr Natalie Sabanadze, Senior Research Fellow, Russia and Eurasia Program, Chatham House
Speakers joining online:
Eto Buziashvili, Atlantic Council
Saba Brachveli, Civil Society Foundation