Chisinau With European flags and against water cannons, tear gas and autocratic despotism: Thousands of people have taken to the streets in Georgia’s capital in the past few days – and have achieved the supposedly impossible. On Thursday morning, the ruling party withdrew the so-called “agent law”, which allows the government to de facto shut down opposition movements and independent media.
The prevention of this law is entirely thanks to civil society, which is ready to take to the streets for their freedom rights and belonging to Europe. What’s more, the protests in Tbilisi are also clearly aimed at Russia’s influence in the country, which remains very strong. Because with the planned law, the government has oriented itself to Russia, where undesirable media workers, non-governmental organizations and researchers are discredited and discriminated against as “foreign agents”. Many of them have now left the country or are in prison.
A similar development could not have been ruled out in Georgia in the long term and would have represented an insurmountable hurdle for the country on its way to joining the European Union, which large parts of the population ardently desire. As in Ukraine, large parts of the population in Georgia have been trying for years to evade Moscow’s influence.
Although Georgia was denied EU accession candidate status last year, the population is an example of what Europe stands for. People throughout Europe should take this as an example – because neither freedom of the press and opinion nor freedom from Russian influence can be taken for granted these days.
More: The country torn: Georgia must choose between the EU and Russia