In the nearest future, the 10th Parliament of Georgia will vote for the Legislative Proposal on the 2021 Budget of Georgia. The increase of the 7 GEL living subsidy for the persons recognized as the victims of political repressions (hereafter: repressed individuals) still is not included in the budget.
It is the third time this year when the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) and the society for commemorating the victims of the Soviet Union and solidarity “Memorial” address to the Prime Minister regarding the increase of the living subsidy for the repressed individuals from 7 GEL to 44 GEL. The letters sent to the Prime Minister on 24 June and 27 July were redirected to the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Labour, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia. In a response to the letter sent on 24 June, the official position of the Ministry was that “the increase of living subsidy only for the victims of repressions would cause a fair dissatisfaction among the individuals belonging to the other social categories receiving living subsidies (Second World War veterans, people with disabilities due to crashing the 9 April demonstrations, the persons with disabilities who were at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, etc. – ed.)”.
IDFI studied the above-mentioned issue in details in April 2020, published two articles - “Victims of Soviet Repressions in Georgia – Legal Remedies and Their Assessment” and “The Statistics of Social Assistance for the Victims of Political Repressions”. The results revealed the following tendencies:
- Among the living subsidies established for the different social categories, the amount for the victims of political repressions (together with the persons who were at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant) – 7 GEL is the smallest.
- The number of repressed individuals declines each year. For instance, in 2010, 20,775 received the living subsidy while their number in 2020 was 10,396, which is mainly caused by the age of the repressed.
- In the case of increasing the subsidy to 44 GEL (which is the amount for Second World War veterans, people with disabilities due to crashing the 9 April demonstrations, etc.) there would be 4,2 million GEL increase in the 2021 budget.
On 1 July 2020, IDFI published a petition on ichange.gov.ge, demanding the increase of the living subsidy for the repressed individuals. If the petition managed to receive 10,000 signatures in 30 days, the Government of Georgia would be obliged to discuss the issue described in the petition. Despite their willingness, for the elderly repressed individuals, who are less familiar with the modern technologies, the electronic procedures for signing the petition turned out to be difficult to understand. For registering on the petition portal, an indication of email is required while the majority of the repressed does not have an email at all and the creation of a new one is too difficult for them. A signatory registers on the online petition portal via email and confirms the creation of an account through the special link sent to his/her email. Only after going through these procedures, a person can sign a petition. So, it is not surprising that IDFI’s petition did not manage to get 10,000 signatures.
On 11 December, IDFI once again addresses to the Prime Minister of Georgia, Giorgi Gakharia and calls for the Government of Georgia to ensure the increase of the living subsidy for the repressed individuals from 7 to 44 GEL. Although insignificantly, this decision will still improve the difficult economic conditions of the family members of the repressed individuals, who are in a risk-group by age, especially during the progressing pandemic.
This material has been financed by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Sida. Responsibility for the content rests entirely with the creator. Sida does not necessarily share the expressed views and interpretations.
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