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NGOs involved in politics

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, January 18
Both the ruling party and opposition are trying to involve NGOs in their political battles. It is an ill practice that very often ruling administrations in different countries create so called non-governmental govrnmental organizations which are in actuality designed to serve the authorities.

As a rule NGOs are created to challenge the ruling power and their concept is from the very beginning opposition-oriented. There are hundreds of registered NGOs in Georgia, however it should be said that many of those are not functioning. Their operation mainly depends on receiving grants, very often from abroad. According to some unofficial data there are around 150 active NGOs in Georgia. Out of this number around 15 are involved in human rights protection. Their activities are respected and well known abroad. It should also be mentioned that many NGOs in Georgia are indirectly involved in political activities. During the Rose Revolution and afterwards, the revolutionists were supported by NGOs and many of the NGO member activists later moved to the Government and Parliament. This tradition has been more or less followed during the current administrationís tenure as well.

2012 is promising to be a very politically active year which is influencing the conduct of NGOs. Georgian NGOs are informally divided into 3 groups. One is comprised of non-governmental organizations that support the Government, the second is allegedly neutral NGOs, and the third - NGOs which support the opposition. The number of NGOs supporting the Government has been increasing significantly recently. They are receiving support in the form of financing from the Government, either directly or indirectly from loyal business, and in return they are attempting to create a favourable ideological background for the ruling majority. Those NGOs have provided international organizations with information that puts the ruling authorities in a favourable light, in that way the Government is trying to suppress the voices of neutral or opposition-oriented NGOs.

Recently adopted legislation concerning the financing of political unions is targeted at preventing opposition forces from creating NGOs in support of the opposition.

In this way the inevitable political confrontation between ruling party United National Movement and its major challenger Bidzina Ivanishvili, who has not yet even established a political party, is now developing to a wider stage involving different segments of society with different levels of responsibility and influence.