Opponents of the "Foreign Agents" Law in Abkhazia: "Let's Hope that Bad Examples Are Not Always Contagious"

By Vitaly Sharia | Ekho Kavkaza — Yesterday, the Georgian parliament passed the so-called "foreign agents" law amid massive street protests and sharp criticism from Western partners. For observers in Abkhazia, who have been closely following events in Georgia, this was not surprising. The developments have led many to contemplate the fate of a similar draft law, which has been gathering dust in the Abkhaz parliament for several months.

For observers in Abkhazia, who have been attentively following the turbulent events of recent weeks in Georgia, it was not surprising that yesterday the Georgian parliament approved the "Law on Transparency of Foreign Influence" in its third and final reading. The law was passed with 84 deputies voting in favour and only 30 against, similar to the votes during the first two readings. This, many said, clearly explains why the government in Tbilisi, after last year's failure to pass a similar law, decided to take the risk of reintroducing it shortly before the parliamentary elections. And although President Salome Zurabishvili has long promised to veto the law, the ruling "Georgian Dream" party has enough votes to override it.

As is well known, a draft law on "foreign agents" has also been under consideration in the Abkhaz parliament for several months. Although many of its opponents in the republic tirelessly emphasise the differences in how such laws would impact the foreign policy orientations of Abkhazia and Georgia, certain analogies and comparisons arise. Yesterday, after the law was passed in the neighbouring country, Asida Lomia, the head of the Abkhazian Children's Fund and one of the most consistent opponents of its adoption in Abkhazia, posted a brief message on Facebook: "Let's hope that bad examples are not always contagious."

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In general, it should be noted that recently many online community activists, who previously often spoke out against the adoption of the "foreign agents" law in Abkhazia, have taken a pause. They have even chosen to refrain from commenting on the events in Georgia. Here is a characteristic post from blogger and socio-political figure Aslan Kobakhia:

"I am often asked, and people write to me privately, about my views on the events happening in Tbilisi. I'll say this: What business do we Abkhazians have with what's happening in Georgia? We have our own problems to deal with. My advice to everyone: Don't meddle in Abkhazia, it will end badly. God will judge everyone, and He will surely set everything in its place."

However, the day before yesterday, before the decision was made by the Georgian parliament, blogger Astamur Kakalia commented on the events beyond the Ingur River:

Astamur Kakalia
Astamur Kakalia

"In Georgia, the defense of European material values is in full swing. Yes, precisely material values. Because the radicals from the opposition have nothing to do with the ideals of enlightenment. Let's be honest, suddenly hitting an opposing speaker at the parliamentary podium, then boasting about it on camera like savages, and transferring the hysteria to the streets - this is anything but the ideals of European civilisation. Winston Churchill or de Gaulle would turn in their graves if they knew who and how are promoting 'European values'. European clerks find those willing to receive 'European material values'. They are not particularly discerning in their clientele. It seems they don't care what methods are used and what bloody results Georgia faces. I used to sympathise with them, but now I see that if there are antipodes to enlightened Europe, they are precisely those who destabilize the situation with the dirtiest methods. By throwing the youth into assaults, they discredit the very concept of European values - culture, science, history, literature, financial transparency, dialogue, and free thought. The strategy is simple - get as many demonstrators on the streets as possible to suffer. Ideally, someone should die to create 'sacred victims'... So, for example, to avoid a sign over my office indicating who finances me, I call the youth to the streets for riots? So, to keep the public from knowing who funds me, I am willing to risk the lives of the youth. No, this is not the defense of freedom and European values, this is the defense of material values. Politicians don't want to work; they want the youth to defend their grants at the cost of their lives. Which only need to be legalised and made visible to all."

Among the comments on this post, there was one that stood out:

"This shows that all those who actually fought are in the camp of the enemies of the authorities, and not one of those who fought in Ukraine sided with the authorities. That is, all those who really want to fight us on a second front have gathered against the authorities."

This was an indirect rebuttal to a resonant post by Lasha Zukhba, who expressed solidarity with the protesters in Tbilisi a few days ago.

This article was published by Ekho Kavkaza and is translated from Russian.




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