Why Georgia takes a turn to dictatorship

Thursday, 30 May 2024 —

Georgia has passed the point of no return in its transformation from an EU candidate to a pro-Russian dictatorship.

The country's parliament overrode President Salome Zourabichvili's veto and finally approved the controversial law on Transparency of Foreign Influence, ignoring numerous appeals from top politicians in the EU and the US, as well as the Venice Commission’s decision.

The adoption of this blatantly anti-European law is guaranteed to reduce support for the ruling party. However, Georgian Dream has not ininiated conflict with the West just to concede defeat in the next elections and voluntarily go into opposition.

Read more about expectations from the Georgian government and whether the opposition has a chance in the article by Yurii Panchenko, a European Pravda editor – Away from the EU: Where Georgian government’s final rejection of the pro-Western course will lead to.


Preserving good relations with the West posed more risks than opportunities for the Georgian government. The EU candidate status obtained in late 2023, although positively received by society (including among the ruling party’s electorate), imposed additional obligations on Georgian Dream.

The Georgian government was required to reform the judicial system, modernise electoral legislation and most importantly, conduct transparent and fair parliamentary elections. Only then could Georgia expect the negotiations with the EU.

The previous parliamentary elections in 2020 were already tough for Georgian Dream and were accompanied by massive fraud.

In the autumn of 2024, it will be even more challenging: for the first time in Georgia’s modern history, parliamentary elections are set to be held without majoritarian representation.

Additionally, the ruling party leaders have expressed plans to secure not just a simple majority but a constitutional majority in the elections.

Under these circumstances, a compromise with the EU was absolutely unnecessary for Georgian Dream. Essentially, they had to choose between a European future for their country and their personal future in power, making a cynical but entirely predictable choice. Thus, the Georgian parliament has passed the anti-European law, which will come into force in early June.

Less than five months remain until the parliamentary elections on 26 October. In fact, the election campaign has started.

It is doubtful that Georgian society will accept defeat.

In these elections, the Georgian opposition may unite, effectively under the leadership of Salome Zourabichvili. She has proposed a formula that will allow the opposition to maximise its electorate.

Another problem for the current government: Georgian NGOs have announced that they will not comply with the "Russian" law.

Under these circumstances, increased repression against protest participants can be expected in the coming months. Many European Pravda's speakers in Georgia suggest that there could be intensified punishments for those detained during protests, dismissal from jobs for protestors working in the public sector and, of course, expulsion of students from universities.

Additionally, in the coming months, new legislative initiatives aimed at strengthening government control over the electoral process are likely to appear.

Personal US sanctions are expected soon. The European Commission, in response to the overriden veto, stated that the EU and member states are "considering all options to respond to these events."

Ukraine should also voice its position on protecting Georgian democracy.

Georgia's fall into the pro-Russian orbit could become a significant problem for Ukraine. At the very least, because simultaneously, the Kremlin is trying to bring pro-Russian forces to power in Armenia. If successful, Russia will gain a convenient land connection with Iran, which will directly affect the course of the war.

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