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Special rules for NGO strangling2010-10-27 20:15
Georgian authorities have got to pretend being satisfied with the activities of international organizations working in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. They've passed from throwing sand in the wheels to a more efficient way of struggle. A decree has been adopted outlining new rules of the work of nongovernmental organizations. The implied rules eliminate the possibility of realizing any projects beyond the sadly known strategy.
In compliance with the new decree, Ministry for Reintegration becomes a censor of projects proposed by international nongovernmental organizations. This administration is free to deny realization of any project to those companies that have been cooperating with Sukhum and Tskhinval via Tbilisi. However, the decree also implies an opportunity to apply to court in case of such denial.
According to the new document, NGOs should inform the Georgian authorities about their activities each half year, stakeholders from Abkhazia and SO should use Georgian documents in their trips and it is highly desirable that the projects should set up political tasks, such as, for instance, the return of refugees. Also, NGOs should set up the tasks close to those of the ministry, that is, to involving the people of Abkhazia and South Ossetia into Georgia "via cooperation".
New rules are going to make life more complicated for NGOs. It is most probable that the majority of the proposed projects are unfeasible, so long as it is impossible to work in Abkhazia and South Ossetia under the law "On occupied territories".
After August 2008, few international organizations decided to go on with their activities in the states recognized by Russia. The companies that stayed in the territory of the countries changed their tactics. Earlier, NGOs tried to introduce projects that could be realized in cooperation with Georgian organizations, while today they are more interested in domestic processes of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. However, Timur Yakobashivli, the author of the new decree, is sure to regard any job connected with the development of local media or civil society as contradicting the essence and form of his decree.
That seems to be Tbilisi's purpose. Political analyst Paata Zakareishvili believes there is an attempt to squeeze international organizations out of the region. "In reality, it means they will soon stop working. There are a lot of organizations among them that had been neutral and often acted as mediators between the parties. This will put brakes on any Georgian-Abkhaz contacts. This is not the politics of control but the politics of eliminating any grounds, on which Georgians, Abkhaz and Ossetians might be engaged in common activities", - Zakareishvili told in his interview to GeorgiaTimes.
The experts are calling to treat the authorities' activities in this direction seriously. The rules for influential international NGOs are introduced not only for the purpose of control but with the far-reaching political prospect. NGOs say that the contacts with the Abkhaz and the Ossetians are feasible and efficient, while the Georgian government is trying to prove that there can be no contacts. It is Georgia and Russia who are in a state of conflict, and the Abkhaz and Ossetians are occupied. Simply stated, the practices of the prudent and non-public international organizations contradict the official Tbilisi's policy. International NGOs turned out to be oppositional against their will and are subject to being banished.