By undermining Georgia’s fiber optics connectivity with the world, the Georgian government is playing to Russia and to domestic cronyism.
In July, the parliament in Tbilisi passed a brainchild of the Kremlin-sympathetic ruling Georgian Dream party, legislation allowing the government to appoint special overseers to telecommunications companies. The government claims the overseers are necessary to ensure that critical infrastructure is protected and the rule of law upheld. The reality is that these overseers are designed to ensure that only those sympathetic to the government’s interests can operate. It’s part of a broader pattern. Funded and secretly led by the James Bond villain figure of Georgian oligarch Bidzina Ivanishvili, the Georgian Dream party has pared back the young democracy’s improving relations with the West. Instead, Ivanishvili has moved to consolidate power, defer to Russia, and destroy dissenting voices.
The oligarch’s latest strike against democracy came