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Statement on the Georgian Parliament’s Passage of the ‘Foreign Agents’ Bill

The McCain Institute at Arizona State University is deeply concerned with growing tension in the Republic of Georgia. Today, the parliament passed the controversial foreign agents bill. When the bill was reintroduced last month, it led to several weeks of Georgians taking to the streets to express their opposition to the bill. Over the weekend, protesters and police clashed leaving many injured, hospitalized, and jailed. The passage of this bill – which restricts the autonomy of civil society – is particularly worrying considering the EU’s decision to grant candidate status to Georgia in December 2023.

“This bill closely mirrors Russia’s foreign agents law, designed to stifle dissent against Putin and portray Russians as spies and unpatriotic,” said McCain Institute Director of Democracy Programs Paul Fagan. “It would be disastrous if Georgia were to fall prey to the same anti-democratic tactics inspired by Putin, aimed at suppressing freedom.”

Georgia’s president, Salome Zourabichvili, has vowed to veto the bill, but parliament has the votes to override her veto and make the bill law. The EU, the United States and many countries have expressed deep concern about the potential law, fearing that this is a step toward a closer alliance with Russia.

“Senator McCain famously declared, ‘Today, we are all Georgians,’ following Russia’s invasion of the South Caucasus country in 2008. I echo Senator McCain’s sentiment and affirm that we stand in solidarity with Georgians.”

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.


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Publish Date
May 14, 2024