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US-EU assets pushing color revolution in Georgia

Over 25,000 NGOs are active in Georgia, and most rely on funding from Europe and the US. A new bill aiming to reign in Western meddling has sparked furious anti-government protests explicitly encouraged by Washington.

by Kit Klarenberg
Part 2 - Western-financed NGO-industrial-complex
Many foreign-funded NGOs are explicitly concerned with integrating Georgia into the EU, NATO, and other “Euro-Atlantic” structures. Among them is the Shame Movement, which has been at the forefront of the recent unrest in Tbilisi. NED grant records indicate that it received just shy of $80,000 in 2021 for “engaging regional youth activists,” helping young Georgians address political “challenges” and advocate “for governmental accountability.

Oddly, an NED entry indicating the Shame Movement also received over $90,000 that year “to promote democratic accountability and effective oversight of the Georgian parliament” has been removed. It noted that the organization was charged with tracking “votes and statements of all parliamentarians and maintain online profiles detailing this information.” Was this initiative ultimately concerned with creating a ‘hit list’ of MPs who vote the “wrong” way, from the West’s perspective?

The Shame Movement was similarly involved in unrest in 2023, when Georgian Dream attempted to implement comparable legislation to the “foreign influence transparency” law, only to capitulate after vast, violent crowds threatened to overrun parliament, scenes similarly soundtracked by relentless hostile broadsides from Western officials. 

A Wall Street Journal report at the time made the organization’s loathing for the government abundantly clear, quoting a Shame Movement spokesperson describing Georgian Dream as a Kremlin proxy “aimed at pushing the nation closer to Russia and further from the EU.” They claimed the government “can’t come out and say they are pro-Russia and anti-EU integration because they would get a huge amount of backlash from the public, so they are trying to boil us like a frog slowly. They are trying and doing everything they can to sabotage Georgia’s EU integration process.

At home and abroad, the Western propaganda line that Georgian Dream serves Russian interests, or is somehow a Kremlin pawn, has been repeated with increasing frequency since the anti-“foreign influence transparency” demonstrations erupted. Evidence to the contrary has been summarily ignored by Western opinion makers, with influential DC-based foreign policy think tank Carnegie Endowment going as far as deleting a detailed report that comprehensively debunked the charge.

In reality, Georgian Dream has since taking office in 2012 struck a delicate balance between strengthening Western ties, and maintaining civil coexistence with neighboring Russia. In order to join the EU, the government has jumped through every Brussels-mandated hoop, satisfied every stated condition for membership, and was formally granted candidate status in December 2023. Yet, this has become an ever-fraught dance since February 2022, with external pressure to impose sanctions on Moscow and send arms to Ukraine perpetually rising. 

Strict compliance with Western sanctions regimes and public condemnations of the Russian invasion are evidently inadequate for Brussels, Kiev, London, and Washington. In December 2022, Garibashvili claimed that the Ukrainian government had repeatedly demanded Tbilisi open a “second front” in the proxy conflict against Russia. His refusal was met with a firm rebuke, which in turn resulted in Georgian Dream’s branding as a Kremlin proxy, and therefore a legitimate target for regime change operations.

Unlike in 2023, the government has refused to back down on enforcing “foreign influence transparency” in the face of Western condemnation and violent mobs flooding the Georgian capital’s streets. On May 3, Prime Minister Kobakhidze issued a fiery statement, accusing the US of orchestrating two failed coups in Tbilisi since 2020. 

These efforts, he asserted, were “carried out through NGOs financed from external sources,” and inspired by “false statements” made by Kelly C. Degnan, US ambassador to Tbilisi until last year. Kobakhidze was referring to the diplomat accusing Georgian Dream of being Kremlin puppets. These allegations “served the facilitation of violence from foreign funded actors,” he contended. Referencing White House complaints about local police responses to the ongoing demonstrations, he noted wryly, “I have not expressed my concerns… about a brutal crackdown” on student Palestine solidarity protesters two days earlier in New York City.


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