May 29, 2024

Georgia's Democracy Crisis

On 14 May Georgia’s parliament passed a controversial law that requires media and nonprofit groups to register as “pursuing the interests of a foreign power” if they receive more than 20% of their funding from abroad. The law mirrors a similar law introduced in Russia in 2012, which has been used to crack down on NGOs and other organizations deemed critical of the Kremlin. Many in Georgia view this law as a similar attempt to restrict freedom of speech and reduce the space for civil society. In the weeks following May 14, Georgians took part in mass protests in Tbilisi, and relations between the Georgian government and the EU and US further deteriorated. Moreover, despite Georgian president Salome Zourabichvili's veto of the controversial “foreign agent” law on May 18, lawmakers overrode this decision on May 28, putting it back on the table. To help us understand what is happening in Georgia and the wider implications of recent events for Georgian democracy and their EU ambitions Giorgi Baramidze and Laura Thornton join Andrea Kendall-Taylor and Jim Townsend on this week’s episode of Brussels Sprouts.  

Giorgi Baramidze is the political secretary of the United National Movement, the largest opposition party in Georgia. Previously he was the State Minister for Euro-Atlantic Integration (2004-2012), and the Minister of Defense (2004).

Laura Thornton is the senior vice president of democracy at the German Marshall Fund. She oversees the Alliance for Securing Democracy, and works with GMF’s transatlantic trusts which support civil society organizations and actors in Central and Eastern Europe, the Western Balkans and the Caucuses.

  • Podcast
    • June 14, 2024
    Unpacking the European Parliament Elections

    Last weekend, voters across the European Union went to the polls to select the next European Parliament. In the run-up to the elections, many observers were focused on the pot...

    By Nicholas Lokker, Jim Townsend, Klaus Welle & Susi Dennison

  • Commentary
    • Foreign Affairs
    • June 14, 2024
    NATO’s Missing Pillar

    It is commonly assumed that NATO was built on U.S. power, but in fact the commitment to collective security emerged in Europe first....

    By Jim Townsend, Sean Monaghan & Mathieu Droin

  • Podcast
    • June 12, 2024
    The High Stakes of European Security with Thomas Wright at the 2024 CNAS National Security Conference

    The current moment in the transatlantic relationship is one of high stakes. The United States and its European allies are continuing to grapple with numerous difficulties, inc...

    By Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Jim Townsend & Thomas Wright

  • Podcast
    • June 7, 2024
    Richard Fontaine and Hal Brands Discuss the Axis of Upheaval

    The effects of Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine are reverberating far beyond Ukraine’s borders. Perhaps most fundamentally, Putin’s invasion has catalyzed deepening cooperation...

    By Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Jim Townsend, Richard Fontaine & Hal Brands

View All Reports View All Articles & Multimedia