10 September, 2015
“Bidzina Ivanishvili let a member of some Soros NGO drop knitting sticks and attain the right to veto, which he uses to get on our and the people’s nerves.” These words were used a few days ago by Tamaz Mechiauri, chairman of Parliament’s financial-budgetary committee, to describe Giorgi Margvelashvili’s presidency. Thankfully, our society has not yet reached the point of being completely apathetic to such remarks by politicians, and Mechiauri came under extreme criticism not only from the general public,
but from his fellow party members as well. Defense Minister Tina Khidasheli has called his statement shameful and said proudly that she used to be a “Sorosian” as well. Davit Zurabishvili, member of the ruling coalition, called the fact of politicians such as Mechiauri occupying senior positions very troubling.

“In the period of re-thinking social values, there emerged people who thought that NGOs endangered their traditional values and identity. Twenty-five years have passed since then, but the new sector still hasn’t overcome alienation and hostility of certain societal groups.”

Embarrassing as it is, this brouhaha nevertheless begs a question: After all, what is the NGO sector and what role does it play in our country?

For better or worse, Georgia keeps up with world trends – the country’s NGO sector is considered an inseparable element of the civil society. First NGOs emerged here in the 90’s, mainly funded from abroad, such as the Soros Foundation, the Norwegian Refugee Council, Eurasia Foundation and many others. There was little enthusiasm or idealism associated with their activity back then, but they provided inhabitants of a destitute, struggling country that Georgia used to be with something useful to do. Against the background of mass unemployment, people started seeing youngsters who, while not doing something obviously important, had an opportunity to go abroad, receive an education, own a car, etc. And so legends and rumors started circulating.

Later, in the period of re-thinking social values, there emerged people who thought that NGOs endangered their traditional values and identity. Twenty-five years have passed since then, but the new sector still hasn’t overcome alienation and hostility of certain societal groups. Georgia is hardly an exception in this case – similar things happened in Asia, Africa and many European countries. Such problems are faced by globalists always and everywhere, especially in societies that existed in near-complete isolation for years. After the 70-year-old communist rule collapsed and gates to the immense outside world were thrown open, it was only predictable that problems with preserving Georgia’s national identity would emerge and that the NGO sector would be seen as a subversive element.

“Maybe later, when future generations see that their traditions are not going anywhere and the nation is not crumbling, hostility against NGOs will abate. Unfortunately, claws of Soviet rule have left deep gashes on Georgian society, and the country’s social and financial difficulties have left many people bitter and looking for a scapegoat.”

This attitude hasn’t largely changed today; moreover, a known favorite of Georgian Patriarchy, conservatively-minded businessman Levan Vasadze has recently stated that the NGO sector in the country should be closed completely. However, many ignore the fact that donor organizations have really helped with development of many democratic institutions. It is with their help that IDP housing and roads are being built in Georgia and the social sector receives generous financial infusions, along with the projects aimed at protecting the country’s cultural heritage. I will not argue with those who say there is no such thing as free lunch; instead, I will only say that everyone has goals and interests, and the main challenge is to determine to what extent they align with ours.

Let’s take the Soros Foundation, which Mr. Mechiauri accuses of anti-national activity. This organization has undoubtedly helped in the building of modern democracy in the country, but “Sorosian” continues to remain a pejorative in Georgia.

Maybe later, when future generations see that their traditions are not going anywhere and the nation is not crumbling, hostility against NGOs will abate. Unfortunately, claws of Soviet rule have left deep gashes on Georgian society, and the country’s social and financial difficulties have left many people bitter and looking for a scapegoat. Some of them even occupy high political offices.

Author: Rusudan Shelia
Other Stories
Adam Kinzinger: I Strongly Support Georgia's Immediate NATO Membership
Congressman Adam Kinzinger, Chairman of the Georgian Caucus of Congress, is one of the main authors of critical letters received by the Georgian government in recent months.
Matthew Bryza: "I think it’s a shame if Georgia doesn’t participate in this digital hub project"
Matthew Bryza worries new telecommunications law targets Caucasus Online and will block major investments that could make Georgia the strategic center of a “digital silk road”
Czech Ambassador: “Georgia among the best countries worldwide when it comes to combating Covid 19”
"Czech contribution in monitoring COVID-19 in Georgia was invaluable and hugely important” - Georgia’s Health Minister Ekaterine Tikaradze praised the Czech Republic’s contribution during Friday meeting with the Ambassador of the Czech Republic to Georgia, H.E. Petr Mikyska as the Georgian and Czech sides met to discuss various aspects of joint collaboration.
Russian MFA Statement About Lugar Research Center-Another Disinformation
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia responds to the statement of the Russian Foreign Ministry regarding Lugar's laboratory.
UN Human Rights Council Adopts Resolution On Occupied Territories Of Georgia
The UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution on the occupied territories of Georgia - "Cooperation with Georgia" within the framework of its 43rd session.
Kurt Volker about 20th of June: People Can’t Forget That
Given that one year has passed since June 20, 2019, it is interesting to see how the West assesses the developments in Georgia during this one year and what expectations it has for the October parliamentary elections.
Eastern Partnership Beyond 2020- Context and Expectations
The Eastern Partnership (EaP) marked its 10th anniversary in 2019. The round dates always come with reflections and new resolutions for the future.
"8 March Agreement Is Very important For Georgian Democracy"-Carl Hartzell
The 8th March agreement concerned not only the change in the electoral system but justice and the impermissibility of political partiality in electoral processes, - stated the Ambassador of the European Union to Georgia, Carl Hartzell during his video broadcast.
Donald Trump Congratulates Georgia on Independence Day
The President of the United States of America Donald Trump sent a letter of congratulations to the Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Gakharia on Independence Day.
US Ambassador Congratulating Georgia on the Independence Day
US Ambassador to Georgia Kelly Degnan has congratulated Georgia on the Independence Day.
Georgia's President Warns Covid-19 Crisis Could Trigger Russian Aggression
Georgia’s president has warned that Russia’s struggle to contain the spread of coronavirus and an economic crisis compounded by an oil price collapse risk is triggering new Kremlin aggression beyond its borders, - reads an article published by Financial Times.
Creation of Maps Violating Georgia's Territorial Integrity To be Considered Illegal
Production, advertising, use, and transportation of maps and other objects reflecting the violation of the principle of territorial integrity of Georgia will be considered as an illegal act.
Turkey Starts Accepting Health Tourists From Georgia
Turkey has started accepting foreign patients from several countries, including from Georgia.
Georgia Has The Greatest Support In the World From EU-Carl Hartzell
A true friend is known to be in trouble, and we have proved that we are true friends, ”-EU Ambassador to Georgia Carl Hartzel said during an online meeting with members of the European Business Association.
The EU Council Has Approved a Package of Financial Assistance to Georgia
The Council of the European Union (EU) has approved a package of emergency macro-financial assistance for 10 countries as part of its Neighborhood and Enlargement Policy.
The US Ambassador Stresses The Importance of Fair Judiciary System
We would like to see more American companies invest in Georgia and more Georgian companies in the United States said US Ambassador Kelly Degnan during a virtual press conference.
"One More Political Prisoner Is Still Waiting To Be Released"-McAllister
The MEPs expressed their opinions about the political situation in Georgia at the discussion of the report on the implementation of the Association Agreement between the EU and Georgia.
Promoting Georgia As a Safe Destination For Tourism
“Georgia – a safe destination” is a message that Georgian diplomats should send to people in their countries, - Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia said while talking to Georgian ambassadors abroad via a video conference today.
UN To Allocate USD 1 Million To Support COVID-19 Crisis in Georgia
The United Nations will allocate USD 1 million for Georgia to help the country better respond to the immediate health consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and protect the most vulnerable groups from the devastating socio-economic impacts of the health crisis.
U.S. Senators Express Concern Over The Expulsion of American Businesses From Georgia
U.S. Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, Congressmen Judy Arrington, and Markwayne Mullin have written to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, expressing concern over the expulsion of U.S. companies and businesses from Georgia.
European Parliament Approves €150 Million Aid For Georgia
The European Parliament on Friday approved €3 billion in loans to help EU neighbors and partner countries deal with the fallout of COVID-19.
MEPs and U.S Senators Welcome the Pardon of Opposition Politicians
Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili announced yesterday that she was pardoning Georgian opposition politicians Gigi Ugulava and Irakli Okruashvili, which she said was ‘a very difficult decision’.
The Presidency of the Council of Europe of Georgia Received a High Assessment
According to the Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia, the presidency of the Council of Europe of Georgia had a very high assessment at the international level.
Coronavirus Crisis is an Opportunity to Deepen Relations With the EU-Salome Zourabichvili
The President of Georgia Salome Zourabichvili talked to the President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö on March 14.
GEL Exchange Rate
Other Stories
On 26 May, Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, joined celebrations in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi
Violation of Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity by Assad regime has been strictly criticized
Exactly one year ago, Georgia was granted visa-free travel with the European Union.
Georgia’s ex-president president Mikheil Saakashvili's supporters managed to free detained Mikheil Saakashvili in the center of Kiev.
The US Ambassador to Georgia Ian Kelly congratulates Georgia on Independence Day.
The regulations on the introduction of visa-free travel for citizens of Georgia have been officially signed in Brussels.
The entire Georgia is involved in Secret Santa game, which means that people are sending gifts to each other secretly
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia is taking part in NATO Ministerial underway in Brussels, Belgium.
A special squad has been mobilized at the 48th polling station in Marneuli, Kvemo Kartli region.
Two politicians in Georgia have come to blows during a live TV debate ahead of the country’s parliamentary elections, Euronews reports.
GEL Exchange
October 2020
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31