Ex-head of Georgia's National Bank offers 10 steps to provide real help to Ukraine
How Georgia should support Ukraine
Financier, ex-head of the National Bank of Georgia Giorgi Kadagidze made a post in which he listed ten specific steps that, in his opinion, the government should take in order to support Ukraine:
- Adopt a law according to which restrictions will be applied on the territory of Georgia in relation to individuals and legal entities that have fallen under the sanctions of the United States, the European Union and the United Kingdom.
- Establish a monitoring group and adjust customs procedures/controls with the Russian Federation by a special regulation to minimize import, re-export and other increased risks.
- The government should seek to reduce/eliminate imports from Russia (Russia did this in 2007). In return, it can demand appropriate assistance from Western countries. For reference, imports from Russia reached a historic high in April.
- Introduce a visa regime with Russia, thus controlling who can and cannot come to Georgia. Today we have the most liberal visa regime with Russia after Belarus and Armenia.
- Ensure that plastic cards and bank accounts issued to Russian citizens will be active only on the territory of Georgia, which will minimize the risk of using banking channels to circumvent sanctions.
- Introduce a special restriction on the registry of companies owned by Russian citizens. According to it, the director must be a citizen of Georgia (similar to the model of the Dubai Economic Zone).
- Officially close Georgia’s airspace, following the example of the Western countries. In the absence of direct flights, this would be a strong political statement without any harm.
- Organize assistance to medical personnel and provide of a manageable number of wounded with treatment and rehabilitation. (For example, in Tskaltubo, Borjomi, or Nunisi).
- In order to avoid speculation, release a monthly report, detailing the reasons for the increase/decrease in exports and imports, the number of bank accounts opened, the number and activities of registered companies, the number of real estate transactions, etc.
- The Prime Minister of Georgia, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mayor of Tbilisi and other officials must pay visits to Kiyv – as they should have done since the first day of the war and just like the leaders of Great Britain, Poland, the Baltic countries, Finland and all other Western countries did.
The Georgian government says the country will not join the sanctions imposed on Russia amid its invasion of Ukraine, as it is contrary to “national interests”.
At the same time, the president and some departments claim the opposite – Georgia supports all the sanctions imposed by Western countries and will not allow its territory to be used to circumvent sanctions.
The non-governmental organization Transparency International Georgia published a study showing that Bidzina Ivanishvili, the former chairman of Georgian Dream, currently owns at least one company in Russia through offshore, and in 2012 he owned at least ten.
Bidzina Ivanishvili’s claims that he has had no business interests in Russia since 2012 are false and untrue, says Eka Gigauri, chairman of Transparency International Georgia.