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TOPIC: georgia protests

FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Red Flags, Blue Flags: Why The Georgia Uprising Makes Moscow So Nervous

Protesters in Georgia blocked the adoption of a Russian-inspired "foreign agents" law, leading to threats from the Kremlin. Writing for La Stampa, Georgia-born political scientist Nona Mikhelidze explains why the events put Moscow on edge.


Protests erupted in Georgia last week over the government's efforts to adopt a “foreign agents” law, a Russian-inspired measure which would require NGOs and independent media who receive more than 20% of their funding from abroad to declare themselves as foreign agents.

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Since a similar law was enacted in Russia, hundreds of civil society and activist groups have ceased their activities, including renowned human rights organization Memorial, a 2022 Nobel Peace Prize winner, which Russian authorities shut down in 2021.

Other organizations working on human rights, environment, election monitoring and anti-corruption have also ceased their activities, with many forced to close to avoid being labeled as foreign agents or because they couldn't take on the heavy fines imposed for not complying with the strict and arbitrary requirements of the law.

Tens of thousands gathered in Tbilisi, Georgia’s capital, carrying red Georgian and blue European Union flags and chanting slogans such as “No to the Russian law” and “We are Europe.” Among the protesters were also Russian emigrants who fled their country after Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Some were also seen holding signs reading: “I am from Russia! I had to flee because of the law on foreign agents! Georgians, fight!”

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