Pro-European Georgians, not foreign mercenaries, organized protests against the “Foreign Agent” Law

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The protest’s organizers are not “foreign sectarian mercenary non-governmental organizations”, but Georgians, including professors, doctors, students, activists, opposition politicians, workers, etc. Their democratic will is to work for Georgia within Georgia thereby promoting European values and freedoms, developing civil society, the fight against corruption, and free speech 


We are fact-checking a post on the social network Facebook stating the following:

What a slap in the face by Georgia to Western crazies who thought they could go there, protest against the government and tell them what to do with the foreign sectarian mercenary NGOs. 

The post also shares a photograph of the response of Margus TsahknaEstonian Foreign Affairs Minister saying the following: 

We are in disbelief of the choice made by the Georgian Parliament not to benefit from this historic opportunity to proceed with the European integration and leave its people in the enlargement waiting room indefinitely. 

Tsahkna’s response, including the protests referred to in the post that we are fact-checking, relates to the recently adopted law by the Georgian Parliament, which incited massive weeks-long protests in Georgia. They call it the “Law on Foreign Agents”. However, despite the President of Georgia vetoing the law, it was not enough to prevent the law from going into effect. 

The Law ”on Transparency of Foreign Influence” demands organizations that receive more than 20 percent of their budget from abroad to register as agents of foreign influence. Fines have been envisaged for those who will not comply accordingly. Georgia’s ruling party, ‘Dream‘, proposed the law under the pretext of ‘promoting transparency and combating pseudo-liberal values’ imposed by foreigners.

It is not true, as the post fact-checked claims, that the weeks-long protests ongoing in Georgia on a massive scale in light of the adoption of this law, colloquially called “Law on Foreign Agents” were organized by ”Western crazies who thought they could go there, protest against the government and tell them what to do with the foreign sects of non-governmental organization mercenaries”. Contrary to this, the protests were organized and supported by people within Georgia, who live and work in Georgia, who are pro-EU affiliated and against this, as they call it, “Russian law”. 

As reported by the New York Times, the protests are mainly organized by Georgian civil society that promotes democracy and free media and fears that the country is moving towards authoritarian rule. Many of them coordinated their activities related to applications of messages with the opposition in Georgia. 

The protests were widely accepted by the citizens of the capital city Tbilisi. Participants included students and workers. 

Many of the protesters in Tbilisi are students and professionals born in independent Georgia after 1990. They claim to fear that their country was on the borderline and that democratic freedoms, such as allowing them to protest in front of the Parliament, may be taken away. 

“If we allow them to take us back to the Soviet Union times, they will try to forbid freedom of assembly and speech,” says one of the protesters for New York Times. 

Nino Zhizhilashvili, host of “Formula”, one of the leading television outlets in Georgia, and Dean of the Media Faculty, says that she joined the protests because the media environment deteriorated, with more frequent attacks on journalists. 

Badri Okujava, researcher in the organization SovLab, researching Georgia’s history under Soviet rule, is one of the organizers of the protests. 

“Russia did awful things to our country,” he says in a statement for New York Times. 

Eka GigauriPresident of Transparency International Georgia dealing with issues such as corruption, including corruption related to the founder of the party “Dream (that proposed the controversial lawsays that the organization will not comply with and respect the lawFor the New York Times, she stressed that her work made her a constant target of attacks, including color-spraying her carand the fact that her image appeared on posters accusing her of being a “foreign agent and an LGBT advocate. 

“These people act in the interest of Putin’ regimeThis Law on Foreign Agents will turn the country into Russia’s backyard,” she says about the government of Georgia. 

Managers of non-governmental organizations supporting the media in Georgia were also part of the protests. They all call the law “Russian law” and believe that it was adopted to silence Russia’s critics. 

The square and streets around the Parliament in Tbilisi have been a hub of protests for weeks, led primarily by young Georgians who envision a future aligned with the West and democratic freedoms, rather than becoming part of ‘Russia’s orbit.

“We do not want to become second Belarus or Russia,” says 32-year Konstantin Chakunashvili, pediatrician. 

The European Union and the USA also criticized the law since it was jeopardizing the freedom of speech. 

Due to all of the above-noted facts, the fact-checked post is assessed as untrue. The organizers and participants in the protests against the Law on Foreign Agents in Georgia are not foreign sects of mercenary non-governmental organizations in Georgia, but Georgians including professors, doctors, students, activists, politicians from the opposition, workersetc. Their democratic will is to work for Georgia within Georgia, by promoting European values and freedoms, thereby developing civil society, fighting against corruption and free speech.