Georgia has become the first post-Soviet country outside of the Baltics to ban former KGB operatives and senior Communist Party and Komsomol officials from holding public office. While many Georgians welcome the move, some critics worry that the measure could easily lead to civil rights abuses.
Under the so-called Freedom Charter, approved by parliament on May 31, ex-officials and operatives will have six months to report themselves to a committee within the Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs. The law differs from many of its European equivalents, however, by also targeting current collaborators of foreign intelligence services – largely interpreted as meaning Russia’s military intelligence and foreign intelligence agencies.
Georgia’s political establishment makes little distinction between the former Soviet Union and today’s Russia; even less so after Tbilisi’s 2008 war with Russia. Some observers believe that the charter targets the past as a way to contend with the security challenges of the present.
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Giorgi Lomsadze is a freelance reporter based in Tbilisi.