Kremlin calls out Georgia on democracy, refers to foreign funded NGOs in Russia as “foreign agents”
By Ernest Petrosyan
Friday, July 20Russian Foreign Ministry has slammed Tbilisi’s statement on human rights in Russia, by suggesting that [Georgia] “finally, start solving the serious problems in regard to democratic freedoms” instead. Prior to that, Tbilisi said that labeling foreign-funded NGO’s in Russia as foreign agents are another attempt of the “Putin regime” to chock civil society.
In a July 18 statement, the Russian Foreign Ministry claimed that following attempts by the United States to meddle in Russia’s sovereign legislative process, Georgia too has decided to make its meager, ‘five-kopeck contribution’ to the rescue of democracy in Russia.
“Not so long ago, we had to respond to attempts to interfere in the sovereign law-making process in the Russian Federation made by American officials.” Now the Georgian Foreign Ministry is putting in its 5 kopeck too,” said Lukashevich.
“We recommend that Tbilisi firstly stop ignoring complaints from international human rights organizations about the situation in Georgia itself,” it said. “The best that the Georgian authorities can do for promoting democracy in the world is to finally start resolving serious problems with democratic freedoms, human rights and national minorities in its own country. UN Human Rights Council, the Council of Europe and other human rights organizations have noted these problems multiple times,” noted Lukashevich.
According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, the UN Council on Human Rights, Council of Europe, and other human rights organizations have repeatedly pointed out these issues to the Georgian government. “As for the Saakashvili regime’s claims about the role of international mentor in human rights issues, they are simply ridiculous,” said the Foreign Ministry.
According to Georgian MFA statement, the bill was completely reflecting the Russian leadership’s negative stance towards international organizations “whose work seeks to contribute to the development of civil society and to the protection of human rights.”
It also notes that for the Russian leadership the word ‘agent’ is intrinsically associated with ‘foreign spy’ or the enemy. Their choice of the sentence ‘not-for-profit organization carrying out the function of a foreign agent’ was made to breed mistrust and criticism of these non-governmental organizations among the wider population.
“Such amendments are the most recent manifestation of the Putin regime's policy of ensuring that civil society in Russia is in complete submission and of concealing mass and flagrant violations of human rights from the international community,” the Georgian Foreign Ministry statement said.