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NGOs Demand Georgian Dream Leaders Publicly Clarify Allegations of Foreign Influence

By Liza Mchedlidze
Monday, April 8, 2024
Non-governmental organizations in Georgia are calling out leaders of the Georgian Dream party, who were previously involved with NGOs and international organizations but are now backing the 'Russian Law' against the civil sector.

These leaders, including Irakli Kobakhidze, Shalva Papuashvili, Givi Mikanadze, Rati Ionatamishvili, Nikoloz Samkharadze, Archil Talakvadze, and Maia Bitadze, have years of experience working with funds and organizations supported by the USA, EU, UN, Council of Europe, OSCE, Soros Foundation, and World Bank. Their past work involved collaboration on justice, equality, self-governance, and more with Georgian NGOs.

However, they now claim these organizations represent foreign interests and threaten Georgia's sovereignty. The NGOs demand these leaders publicly clarify whether they were instructed to favor foreign interests and to specify instances if any. Georgian NGOs assert their commitment to protecting Georgian citizens' interests and strengthening the country's democratic institutions.

"It is known to the public that representatives of the party, the authors of the 'Russian Law', have been working in organizations funded by the USA and the European Union for decades, among them:

Irakli Kobakhidze worked for 9 years in US and UN organizations;

Shalva Papuashvili worked for 17 years in the German Foundation;

Givi Mikanadze received funding from the Council of Europe, the OSCE, the United Nations, and the European Union for 10 years;

Rati Ionatamishvili received funding from the European Union, USAID, and other international funds for 9 years;

Nikoloz Samkharadze worked for 11 years in EU and UN programs;

Archil Talakvadze worked for 3 years in US organizations and the Soros Foundation;

Maia Bitadze worked for 15 years in UN, OSCE, and World Bank organizations.

Some of them, as representatives of donor organizations, worked with Georgian non-governmental organizations on issues such as justice, equality, self-governance, and more.

Today, they declare that the organizations they have represented for years act in the interests of foreign states and pose a threat to Georgia. Accordingly, we call on them to publicly explain to the Georgian people whether someone instructed them to act in favor of the interests of a foreign state and, if so, to name specific cases.

Georgian non-governmental organizations have acted, are acting, and will continue to act to achieve the goals stipulated in their statutes, to protect the interests of Georgian citizens, and to strengthen democratic public institutions in Georgia," reads the statement signed by 22 NGOs.