On September 14, 2023, the U.S. imposed sanctions on Otar Partskhaladze, the former Chief Prosecutor of Georgia and a person close to Bidzina Ivanishvili’s family, due to his cooperation with the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB). The decision on sanctioning makes it clear that Russian special services are exerting an influence on Georgia’s society and politics.
Otar Partskhaladze was accused [VB1] of committing various crimes on several occasions in the past, although he was not subjected to criminal liability, which can presumably explained by his close ties with both the authorities and the founder of the ruling party, Bidzina Ivanishvili.
It causes serious concern that the Georgian society learned of Partskhaladze’s cooperation with Russian special services from a statement released by the U.S. State Department rather than from the State Security Service of Georgia (SSSG). It’s hard to believe that the relevant services responsible for ensuring the security of the State of Georgia were not informed about this. In spite of the fact that the information on sanctioning became known several days ago, the SSSG has yet to respond effectively to this fact, which is presumably related to Partskhaladze’s influences. According to the statement released by the SSSG, the agency has started to study the information, although it’s clear that in this situation we cannot expect that the investigation will be launched and conducted in a swift and objective manner. Moreover, it is concerning that the authorities and individuals connected with them are busy obscuring this fact.
The events related to Partskhaladze point to the fact that the SSSG is failing to properly perform its statutory function and that it is easy to plant representatives of Russian special services in the ruling party and the close circle of its founder. This fact is an extremely important problem for Georga’s security.
In such a situation, it is important that the Parliament of Georgia use all mechanisms of parliamentary control. The chief of the SSSG should answer questions related to challenges to the country’s security. In addition, the SSSG should provide the public with information on the steps taken to neutralize the network of Russian special services in Georgia.
Today, as never before, it is evident that the special services of Georgia are ineffective in the struggle against the influences of the occupier state – Russia – and are in need of a serious reform, including the introduction of effective mechanisms of democratic control in the sector of national security.
- Transparency International Georgia
- Human Rights Center
- Economic Policy Research Center
- Atlantic Council of Georgia
- Society and Banks
- Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association
- Georgia’s Reforms Associates (GRASS)
- Open Society Georgia Foundation
- Rights Georgia
- International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy
- Democracy Defenders
- Civic Movement for Freedom
- World Experience for Georgia (WEG)
- Media Development Foundation