The New York TimesThe New York Times

The explosive roots of the Georgia protests

By Ivan Nechepurenko and Andrew Higgins

09 Mar 2023 · 6 min read

Editor's Note

A controversial draft law in Georgia is seen as a stealthy effort to import Putinism and sabotage the country's EU aspirations. The NYT reports.

TBILISI, Georgia — When Russia invaded its neighbor Georgia 15 years ago, it gobbled up swaths of land, rained missiles on Josef Stalin’s hometown and halted its tanks just outside Tbilisi, the Georgian capital and seat of a defiantly pro-Western government.

This week, however, a stealthier Russian import entered the capital, setting off stormy street demonstrations and protests by Western diplomats. Its arrival raised a flurry of questions about how Georgia, once a democratic trailblazer among former Soviet lands, had become an export market for anti-democratic techniques pioneered and promoted by President Vladimir Putin of Russia.

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