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Scott Ritter: Georgian 'Foreign Agents' Law Exposes Western Influence and Protects Sovereignty

© AP Photo / Shakh AivazovProtesters with Georgian flags rally in support of jailed former President Mikheil Saakashvili in Tbilisi, Georgia, Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021
Protesters with Georgian flags rally in support of jailed former President Mikheil Saakashvili in Tbilisi, Georgia, Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 31.05.2024
The new "foreign agents" law will help Georgians tell right from wrong and real friends from fake ones, former US Marine Corps intelligence officer Scott Ritter told Sputnik, arguing that the legislation should be called the "transparency law."
Georgia's "foreign agents bill," which designates non-governmental organizations (NGOs) receiving more than 20 percent of their funding from abroad as "pursuing the interests of a foreign power," became law on May 28. The US immediately announced sanctions against Georgian politicians backing the legislation, while the EU threatened to freeze the country’s candidate status.
One might wonder as to why the law, which resembles the US' Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), has been received with such animosity in the West. The crux of the matter is that the legislation is aimed at exposing the West's deep disrespect of Georgia's sovereignty, according to former US Marine Corps intelligence officer Scott Ritter.
"In Georgia today, as we speak, there are 27,000 Western-funded NGOs. What are these non-governmental organizations doing? It's about buying a generation of Georgian citizens, a young generation, a generation that has lost touch with who they are and what they are as Georgians, a generation that is out of touch with the reality of what happened to Georgia in the 1990s," Ritter told Sputnik.
Over the past several decades, Georgians have experienced what the "European choice" really entails, Ritter continued, referring to US-backed Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili's aggression against South Ossetia and Russian peacekeepers in August 2008, which was quickly repelled by Moscow. Following Saakashvili's botched invasion, Russia recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which had declared their independence from Tbilisi in the early 1990s.
Protests in Tbilisi, Georgia against the new foreign influence bill. May 28. 2024 - Sputnik International, 1920, 29.05.2024
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Putting Georgia First

Currently, the Western-backed Georgian opposition wants to create a "second front" against Russia, something that would be nothing short of suicidal, according to Ritter. This policy of confronting Russia is part and parcel of an overall package that includes Georgia becoming a member of the European Union and member of NATO, which would also mean ceding Georgia's sovereignty to the West, the military expert warned.
"Georgian Dream has the best interests of Georgia in mind," said Ritter. "The EU wants Georgia to participate in the economic sanctioning of Russia. The Georgian Dream Party so far has said no. Look what happened to Europe when they sanctioned Russia, it boomeranged, backfired. What about Georgia? By not participating in the economic sanction of Russia, the Georgian economy has grown more than 10% over the course of the last two years and is on pace to continue this level of growth. That's called looking out for Georgia first."
When it comes to Georgian NATO membership, many of the nation's seasoned military officers, who participated in NATO's Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kosovo campaigns and brought home the dead bodies of Georgian soldiers, are no longer enthusiastic about joining the alliance, the expert remarked.
Ritter explained that territorial disputes with South Ossetia and Abkhazia will not allow Georgia to join NATO any time soon, adding that the irony is that the two breakaway republics will not start settling their disagreements with Tbilisi until the latter gives up its NATO aspirations.
A man with a stick in hand walks past a burning police car not far from the Georgian parliament building in Tbilisi, Georgia, Thursday, March 9, 2023. - Sputnik International, 1920, 21.05.2024
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New Law to Prevent West From Meddling in Georgia's Elections

Unlike Georgia's former pro-Western leaders and opposition, the Georgian Dream Party has taken a middle path of steering the nation away from economic and political crises, according to the pundit. In light of this, the upcoming October elections will become a litmus test for Georgians, and the governing party doesn't want the West to decide the nation's fate by meddling in the vote via thousands of US and EU-funded non-governmental organizations. Hence, the adoption of the law, which will help separate the wheat from the chaff, he said.
"One of the goals in passing this legislation was to prevent the EU and the US from taking control of the political opposition, directly and indirectly, by pouring in hundreds of millions of dollars through these 27,000 non-governmental organizations. By stopping this, by exposing this foreign money, the reality of this foreign money, the Georgian Dream Party is betting that the Georgian people will be shocked by the depths to which ostensible friends, the US, the EU, have gone to buy Georgia, not respecting Georgia as a sovereign state, not respecting the Georgian people as a sovereign people."
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Georgian Dream lawmakers want to prevent external forces from dragging the nation into another debacle, according to the expert. They want Georgians to choose their own way on the world arena, not as "Europeans," but as "Georgians."
"The Georgian Dream Party is betting that the Georgian people at the end of the day will recognize that they are not European – that they are Georgian. They are Eurasian. They are unique. That they don't belong in a continent that doesn't want them. They belong in the homeland, in the South Caucasus, from which they come. And that their closest big neighbor, Russia, has been the best friend of Georgia over time than any other nation on the planet. This is the Georgian dream. This is the dream of the Georgian people. And this should be the dream of anybody who claims to be a friend of the Georgian nation," Ritter concluded.
Hungarian-born US investor and philanthropist George Soros looks on after having delivered a speech on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting, on January 23, 2020 in Davos, eastern Switzerland. (Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP) - Sputnik International, 1920, 05.05.2024
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