Archil Sikharulidze - Georgian Law on Foreign Agents | Tavush Movement in Armenia | Parallels in Foreign Influence | Ep 332 - May 26, 2024 [EP332]

Posted on Sunday, May 26, 2024 | Category: Georgia, Armenia | Series: cog



  • Georgian Law on Foreign Agents
  • Politics and Diplomacy of Armenia
  • Parallels and Lessons from Georgia

Episode 332 | Recorded: May 25, 2024

Show Notes

Georgian Law on Foreign Agents

For the past two months Georgia has been wracked with protests about a so-called bill on “Foreign Agents” which the parliament passed into law last week, and then it was vetoed by president Zourabishvili.

If you follow mainstream media, this law on foreign agents which the west calls a “Russian Law” or “Putin’s Law”, will be catastrophic for Georgia. Interestingly, the US and many other western states have similar laws to protect them against foreign influence. The US for example has FARA, the Foreign Agent Registration Act (which, I think, dates back from before WW2!)

The Georgian parliament has the votes to override the president’s veto, but given the dire warnings from the EU, threatening to end Georgia’s EU membership bid, and the US threatening sanctions and other actions against Georgia, they have to think through their actions carefully.


  • What are the key sensitivities around this law?
  • Does Georgia need a law on foreign agents? Why?
  • With thousands of NGOs registered in Georgia, what is your assessment of the effect of foreign-funded NGOs on Georgia’s politics?
  • Why was the bill brought back now, what is significant about this moment in time?

The conflict in Georgia is described as a pro-Gov vs anti-Gov scenario, where the government is described as the pro-Russian side, while the protesters are aligned with The West.

To understand what’s going on, we first need to understand how to characterize Georgia’s current government and ruling party: the Georgian Dream. We should also understand how the opposition is involved, and how they align with the NGOs.


  • Would you characterize Georgian Dream as a “pro-Russian” party?
  • How is the Opposition, the UNM, involved in these protests? Is their participation principled, or opportunistic? Or put another way: are they leading the protest wave, or following it?
  • Is this issue related to coming elections, and how will it affect those elections?

Most Armenians don’t think of Georgia as pro-Russian. We actually think that the Georgian government has very adroitly navigated the difficult world geopolitics since the war in Ukraine began, by not antagonizing any of the major powers as much as possible. Unlike Armenia’s government.


  • Would you agree that Georgia is conducting a very rational foreign policy?
  • Since Georgia is a candidate for EU membership, and this process is likely to rile up Russia, is it possible that this law on foreign agents was brought up to deliberately slow down, actually further slow down, the EU membership process?

Before we finish for today let’s turn our attention to Armenia.

Parallels with Armenia

Armenia has been struggling since the 44-day war to regain some modicum of sovereignty. In the past couple of months Archbishop Bagrat Galstanyan has led intense anti-government protests to stop Pashinyan from continuing unilateral territorial concessions to Azerbaijan.


  • Have you been following the Tavush Movement protests in Armenia? And how do you view the overall struggle between government and opposition?
  • Do you see any parallels between what’s going on in Georgia and Armenia?


That’s our show, we hope you found it useful. Please find us on Social Media and follow us everywhere you get your Armenian news, the links are in the show notes. Thanks to Laura Osborn for the music on our podcasts. We’ll talk to you soon!


Archil Sikharulidze

Archil Sikharulidze

Archil Sikharulidze is a founder of the Tbilisi-based research institute SIKHA foundation, in the Republic of Georgia. He holds masters degrees in International Relations from Tbilisi State University, and Public Administration from The Robert Gordon University in Scotland. Mr. Sikharulidze is focused on Russian and Islamic Studies. Additionally, political processes and international relations in Ukraine, the South Caucasus and Kazakhstan. He writes extensively for various local and international platforms such as OpenDemocracy, NewEasternEurope, CommonSpace.EU, RIAC, and Russia in Global Politics.


Hovik Manucharyan

Hovik Manucharyan

Hovik Manucharyan is an information security engineer who moved from Seattle to Armenia in 2022. He co-founded the ANN/Groong podcast in 2020 and has been a contributor to Groong News since the late 1990s.

Disclaimer: The views expressed by Hovik Manucharyan on the ANN/Groong podcast are his own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of his employer or any other organization.

Asbed Bedrossian

Asbed Bedrossian

Asbed is founder of the Armenian News Network Groong and co-founder of the ANN/Groong podcast.

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