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HEARING: Supporting Georgia’s Sovereignty and Democracy

Cannon House Office Building, Room 210, Washington, DC 20003

Tuesday, June 4, 2024, 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

WASHINGTON—The recent adoption of a Russian-style foreign agent law heralds an openly anti-western turn by the ruling Georgian Dream government, and their concomitant alignment with Russia as well as other authoritarian powers such as China. After three decades of a pro-west, democratizing, and Euro-Atlantic-facing strategic agenda, Georgia’s government is clearly and violently breaking faith with the overwhelming choice of the Georgian population in the roughshod adoption of this and other Kremlin-inspired legislation and policies. This strategic re-vector by the Georgian Dream government has provoked weeks of mass protests throughout the country and upends the country’s already fragile political and social environment.

Officials from the European Union have already made it abundantly clear that the full enactment of such legislation will torpedo the country’s EU membership aspirations. And the European Parliament has signaled that certain privileges that Georgia enjoys with the EU, including visa liberalization, could be put at risk as a result. In the United States, Congress and the State Department have vowed to protect and support the Georgian people’s overwhelming and long-standing democratic and Euro-Atlantic choice, including potentially through targeted individual visa bans, financial sanctions, reconsidering aid packages, and other measures. By all accounts, the Georgian Dream government is dragging a pro-democracy and pro-west population towards Moscow against their will, and is willing to accrue great harm to the country in that quest.

This hearing will feature timely testimony from leading experts on the evolving situation in Georgia, its implications for Georgia’s democracy and continued sovereignty, and potential U.S. policy responses.

The following witnesses are scheduled to testify:

  1. Ivane Chkhikvadze, EU Integration Program Manager, Civil Society Foundation, and Georgia Country Consultant, European Endowment for Democracy
  2. Dr. Natalie Sabanadze, Senior Fellow, Chatham House, and former Georgian Ambassador to the EU
  3. Ambassador (ret.) William Courtney, Adjunct Senior Fellow, RAND Corporation, and former U.S. Ambassador to Georgia
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