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McCain Institute, George W. Bush Institute, Freedom House Call for Action Against Autocratic Georgian Dream Government

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 22, 2024) Today, the McCain Institute, George W. Bush Institute, and Freedom House called on the United States and European allies to impose restrictions and sanctions on Georgian Dream officials and their families who threaten democratic development in the Republic of Georgia. The three organizations issued the following joint statement:

We call on the United States and its European allies to immediately impose travel restrictions and financial sanctions against individuals responsible for undermining Georgia’s democratic development and Euro-Atlantic aspirations, including high-ranking Georgian Dream officials and their families. The United States must stand with the Georgian people against the autocratic actions of the Georgian Dream government.

The latest example of the government’s attack on democracy came on May 14, when Georgia’s Parliament passed a draconian foreign agents law, which will force Georgian organizations receiving more than 20% of their funding from abroad to label themselves as organizations serving the interest of a foreign power. The law suffocates civil society and media by exposing potential government critics to overly burdensome regulationsand imposing crippling fines on organizations and private individuals who fail to comply. This legislation, which mirrors a Kremlin law designed to suppress dissent and opposition in Russia, will have a devastating impact on civil society and democracywithin the Republic of Georgia.

Hundreds of thousands of Georgians have taken to the streets for weeks to peacefully protest this authoritarian power grab. The people of Georgia recognize this bill is the latest threat to their rights and freedom, and they are making clear that the future of Georgia lies with Europe and democracy, not Russia and repression. Meanwhile, the Georgian government has responded with a violent crackdown, as police and other security personnel have brutally attacked and injured numerous peaceful protestors.

This law’s passage represents another significant step in the Georgian Dream attempts to undermine democracy and freedom in the Republic of Georgia.

Following Russia’s 2008 invasion of Georgia, Senator John McCain famously stated that we are all Georgians. Today, our organizations continue to stand with the people of Georgia and their demands for a free, democratic future.

About the McCain Institute at Arizona State University

The McCain Institute is a nonpartisan organization inspired by Senator John McCain and his family’s dedication to public service. We are part of Arizona State University and based in Washington, D.C. Our programs defend democracy, advance human rights and freedom, and empower character-driven leaders. Our unique power to convene leaders across the global political spectrum enables us to make a real impact on the world’s most pressing challenges. Our goal is action, not talk, and like Senator McCain, we are fighting to create a free, safe, and just world for all. 

About Arizona State University

Arizona State University has developed a new model for the American research university, creating an institution that is committed to access, excellence and impact. ASU measures itself by those it includes, not by those it excludes. As the prototype for a New American University, ASU pursues research that contributes to the public good, and ASU assumes major responsibility for the economic, social and cultural vitality of the communities that surround it. 

George W. Bush Institute

The George W. Bush Institute is a solution-oriented nonpartisan policy organization focused on ensuring opportunity for all, strengthening democracy, and advancing free societies. Housed within the George W. Bush Presidential Center, the Bush Institute is rooted in compassionate conservative values and committed to creating positive, meaningful, and lasting change at home and abroad. We utilize our unique platform and convening power to advance solutions to national and global issues of the day. Learn more at

Freedom House

Freedom House is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that works to create a world where all are free. We inform the world about threats to freedom, mobilize global action, and support democracy’s defenders.


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Publish Date
May 22, 2024