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Eli Lake

The U.S. Needs to Hold Georgia’s Shadow Boss Accountable

Stopping an ally’s slide into authoritarianism requires speaking truth to power.

Time to speak to the man behind the curtain.

Time to speak to the man behind the curtain.

Photographer: Vano Shlamov/AFP via Getty Images

In an ideal world, the U.S. president would take a few minutes to express his grave concerns about the accelerating slide into authoritarianism of the Republic of Georgia, previously a reliable ally of the West.

The world and the U.S. president are not ideal, of course. So for the moment, this important task has been left to Congress. In the last two months, the prime minister of Georgia, Giorgi Gakharia, has received three letters from U.S. lawmakers expressing alarm about the persecution of his political opponents and his reversal on a promise to enact electoral reforms. Reports that Gakharia intends to pack Georgia’s high court with new justices that will rule in his party’s favor have also earned the notice of these lawmakers, who were visited in December by a delegation of Georgian opposition leaders that called for the U.S. to vigorously protest some of the ruling party’s recent actions.