Georgia tells U.S.: Stop attacking the Orthodox Church and fomenting revolution if you want us to drop the “foreign agents” law

Tbilisi, May 23, 2024

Leaders of the Georgian Dream party. Photo: Leaders of the Georgian Dream party. Photo:     

There are several things the U.S. must do if it wants Georgia not to enact the recently passed so-called “foreign agents” law, or the “NGO transparency” law as the ruling Georgian Dream party calls it.

Among its expectations, the party’s Political Council writes that the U.S. must stop using NGOs to foment revolution in Georgia and stop attacking the Orthodox Church, which represents about 85% of the Georgian population.

The Georgian Dream party issued a statement yesterday in response to the “MEGOBARI” (Mobilizing and Enhancing Georgia’s Options for Building Accountability, Resilience, and Independence Act) bill being prepared by South Carolina Republican Congressman Joe Wilson, which offers financial perks, a liberalization of the visa regime for Georgian citizens visiting the U.S., and a military support package if Georgia shows “significant and sustained progress towards reinvigorating its democracy,” including scrapping the “foreign agents” law that seeks to provide transparency about foreign powers funding NGOs operating in Georgia.

Conversely, Wilson’s bill calls for sanctions against Georgian politicians if the bill passes into law.

However, American politicians err in “speaking to Georgia in the language of blackmail,” the Georgian Dream statement reads, according to

According to the statement, the U.S. expects Georgia, in addition to scrapping the aforementioned law, to not pass a law on LGBT propaganda, to “conduct good elections,” and to refrain from negative rhetoric against America.

However, “First of all, it should be noted that both the adoption of the NGO transparency law and the criticism from American officials have their objective reasons,” the Georgian Dream states. “For many years, Georgia has had to live in a so-called polarization regime, where externally funded NGOs play a key role.”

The statement continues:

Moreover, since November 2020, NGOs have tried twice to stage a revolution in Georgia. In addition, our country has been the constant target of attacks from a number of American politicians and officials, from which the Georgian government has had to defend itself with adequate rhetoric…

Unfortunately, a number of American politicians and officials are making mistake after mistake and continue to speak to Georgia in the language of blackmail…

A respectful attitude towards Georgia should be expressed in a completely different way. Under such conditions:

  • The US would demonstrate through actions that it is Georgia's strategic partner, specifically by granting visa liberalization to Georgian citizens and concluding a free trade agreement without any conditions. As the bill reveals, the US could have done this earlier, but it showed indifference to Georgia and the Georgian people;

  • The US would invest in the Georgian economy, as it last did in 2009-11 when Saakashvili's regime was saved from economic collapse;

  • The US would ensure a change in NGO behavior, specifically ending their policy of non-recognition of Georgia's government and putting aside revolutionary plans;

  • The use of the EU topic as a constant instrument of blackmail against Georgia would cease, and negotiations with Georgia would open by the end of the year, restoring fairness with respect to Ukraine, Moldova, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Next, Georgia calls on NGOs to cease attacking the Orthodox Church and supporting religious extremism and various serious sins:

If they do all this, then neither the NGO transparency law will be necessary, nor will we have to respond to unjust statements. However, if NGOs do not abandon attempts to stage a revolution, attack the Orthodox Church, support religious extremism, encourage political intervention under the guise of religion, LGBT propaganda, drug promotion, attempts to undermine state institutions, and create obstacles for economic projects, and if some American politicians and officials continue to attack Georgia, then we will need both the transparency law and to fend off the attacks. Therefore, today, there is no alternative to adopting the NGO transparency law.

Our partners can qualitatively reframe relations in a maximum of one year. If they realize this, relations will improve very quickly, but if they continue to act with the same approach towards Georgia, they will harm both Georgia's interests and America's.

As already mentioned, everything is in the hands of our partners, and Georgia, as a small country, cannot unilaterally change anything. Therefore, we must hope that rational thought will prevail in America, benefiting both countries.

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