After Georgia said that Russia’s bill, labeling foreign-funded non-governmental organisations “foreign agents”, was yet another attempt by “the Putin regime” to stifle civil society, Russia responded that “pretence by the Saakashvili regime of being an international mentor on human rights is ludicrous.”
The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on July 18, 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 salvation of democracy in Russia’.”
“We recommend official Tbilisi at first to stop ignoring complaints from… international human rights organizations about situation in Georgia itself,” it said. “The best that the Georgian authorities could do for promoting democracy in the world would be to at last launch 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 about these problems for multiple times.”
The Georgian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on July 16, that the bill was fully 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 said that for the Russian leadership “word ‘agent’ is intrinsically associated with ‘foreign spy’ i.e. the Enemy, and 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.”
“These 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 said.