Kremlin says Georgia’s ‘foreign agents’ law is being used to stoke anti-Russian feeling

By Thomson Reuters Apr 17, 2024 | 4:56 AM

MOSCOW (Reuters) – The Kremlin said on Wednesday that a draft law on “foreign agents” currently being debated by lawmakers in Georgia is being used by outside actors to stoke anti-Russian sentiment and should not be called Russian.

Georgians have staged protests outside the parliament in Tbilisi this week against what they call “the Russian law,” which they say will align the South Caucasus country more closely with Russia and draw it away from the European Union.

The draft legislation would require organisations receiving more than 20% of their funding from abroad to register as agents of foreign influence, and has been compared by critics to a similar Russian law used to crack down on dissent.

A coalition of opposition groups, civil society, celebrities, and the country’s figurehead president have rallied against the ruling party to oppose the move.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the situation was being used to “provoke anti-Russian sentiments” and that “it is unlikely that these impulses are being fed from within Georgia.”

“They’re probably coming from the outside,” he told reporters, without elaborating. He said the Kremlin was closely watching developments.

Peskov said it was the United States, not Russia, which had pioneered such legislation, referring to the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) of 1938.

“Now this is a normal practice of a large number of governments that are doing everything to protect themselves from outside influence,” he said.

(Reporting by Reuters; Writing by Felix Light in Tbilisi and Lucy Papachristou in London; Editing by Andrew Osborn)