The influence of the State Security Service on public institutions
On February 22, the Democracy Research Institute held a presentation of the study "Control Mechanisms of the State Security Service relating to Public and Private Institutions", which was aimed at studying the influence of the State Security Service on state bodies, legal entities under public law and private institutions, including by appointing the so-called Odeers by the Service.
The Odeers' institution has been established in Georgia since Soviet times and this practice has not been eliminated to date. Active reserve officers (so-called Odeers) used to be secret members of the KGB. Their job was to provide information to the Security Committee, which was used not to expose crimes but to establish political views and attitudes of the staff.

It is true that in 2015 a so-called reform was carried out in this direction, but the problem has not been solved. Before the reform, the Minister of Internal Affairs used to appoint "security officers" to public and private institutions. Following the separation of the State Security Service from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and its establishment as an independent agency, the task of appointing and overseeing/controlling representatives of the security service was transferred to the State Security Service. However, instead of a real reform, the legislative changes carried out since 2015 have only legalized the appointment of "Odeers" by the Security Service.
Sending representatives of the security services to public institutions actually serves the political security of the ruling party and is aimed at exposing dissenting opinion, which is incompatible with the principles of a state based on the rule of law and represents a vicious practice. Another threat posed by the existence of this institution is the low level of accountability and lack of oversight mechanisms. 
The study revealed the following:
  • In a number of cases, the State Security Service signs cooperation contracts with unauthorized entities
  • Despite the voluntary nature of cooperation contracts, no termination of a contract at the initiative of either party had been revealed during the study
  • According to the available information, as of today, the Security Service has not signed a cooperation contract only with the National Probation Agency
  • Representatives of the State Security Service are authorized by contract to monitor work-related non-confidential correspondence, which is especially problematic in the context of the mass dissemination of proofs of illegal and total surveillance of people by the said service
  • The State Security Service links the signing of cooperation contracts with entities to operational-technical activities, which is incompatible with legislation
  • The ambiguity of the legislative norm and its broad interpretation by its addressee make it difficult to identify the so-called Odeers appointed by bypassing legislation
  • The mayors of at least three municipalities elected in the 2021 local government elections had previously held senior positions in the security/counterintelligence sector.

    Control Mechanisms of the State Security Service relating to Public and Private Institutions