This has been developing and escalating ever since the country’s lone oligarch, Bidzina Ivanishvili – a man who made his fortune in Russia in the 1990s – took power in 2012. The Georgian government is now, instead, ruling the law and blocking democracy. A new mission regarding human rights needs to be appointed in order to secure broad support for how said rights are defended and democracy safeguarded. What has happened in Georgia is not a sudden development. If the Georgian government says goodbye to democracy. epa08444570 A man holds a small Georgian national flag while marking the 102th anniversary of the Georgian Independence in Tbilisi, Georgia, 26 May 2020. The EU must stand firm, otherwise, Georgia risks turning into a new Belarus. Furthermore, it must also call for an independent inquiry to look into the issue of the rule of law within the Georgian institutions to secure their independence. It must first call halt the police brutality against the opposition and the immediate release of their leader, Nika Melia. The Act of Independence of Georgia was adopted on 26 May 1918. In order to stabilize democracy and clarify the need for the rule of law, the EU has offered cooperation and a closer relationship, but it hasn’t helped. The hope over the last eight years of Ivanishvili’s formal and informal rule has been that the Georgian vision of belonging to Europe, and not being a satellite of Vladimir Putin’s post-Soviet sphere of influence, should be stronger than the authoritarian instincts of Ivanishvili and his Georgian Dream party. By Gunnar Hökmark
President of Stockholm Free World Forum and a former Member of European Parliament. EPA-EFE//ZURAB KURTSIKIDZE
Opposition leaders have in the past been jailed and held in detention, without trials, but Europe’s reactions have always been firm and in the end, they have been freed. Ivanishvili made his fortune in the 1990s in Russia with investments in metals, real estate, and banking.
Bidzina Ivanishvili speaks during a joint news conference in Tbilisi. At the time a Russian citizen, Ivanishvili returned to Georgia shortly before the 2003 Rose Revolution. If the Georgian government does not listen, the EU must clarify that it will end the Association Agreement that came into force in 2016 as well as the visa-free travel regimen that came into being in 2017. EPA-EFE/ZURAB KURTSIKIDZE
What we are seeing today in Georgia is a broken democracy. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>Is this goodbye to Georgia’s democracy? Since Ivanishivili’s rise to power, Georgia’s democracy has been, step-by-step, undermined. it must understand that it also says goodbye to the European Union. When the main opposition leader is dragged out of his party’s headquarters on the direct orders of the government, the country has said goodbye to democracy. At that point, Georgia’s spectacular success in fighting corruption, creating economic growth and increased prosperity – all of which began in the wake of the 2003 Rose Revolution – came to an end. He was deeply involved in the work with the Eastern Partnership and its parliamentary structures, as well as in closer relations with Georgia. Elections have been manipulated, but they have at least taken place and have ultimately proven to be a problem for the governing party they have been forced to rig the results as well as persecute the opposition and crackdown on the independent media.