Georgia erupts in fury as ‘Russian law’ passes

What happened

Georgia’s parliament on Tuesday defied mass protests to approve a controversial “foreign influence” bill that critics call a Kremlin-inspired threat to the country’s democracy and aspirations to join the European Union.

Who said what

The so-called Russian law has “echoes of legislation” Russian President Vladimir Putin pushed through in 2012, widely regarded as a tool to silence critics, The Guardian said. It requires media and nongovernmental organizations to detail significant foreign funding.

Now Georgia is “at the crossroads,” said Politico. In December, Brussels granted the former Soviet state EU candidate status, “raising the hopes” of 80% of Georgians who consistently tell pollsters they want their nation to join the union. Yet “some fear Tbilisi is moving closer to Moscow” as it rams through “draconian laws” the EU warns are “incompatible with European values.”

What next?

President Salome Zourabichvili has vowed to veto the bill, but the ruling Georgia Dream party has enough votes in parliament to override her veto. The protests will continue as “long as it takes” to end this “existential threat” to Georgia’s survival, said Natia Seskuria, a former Georgian national security official, to the BBC

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  Crossword: March 30, 2024

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