Feb 28, 2022 - News

Georgia state government will divest of Russian asset

Protestors supporting Ukraine

Ukrainian citizens and anti-war demonstrators in Istanbul. Photo: Hakan Akgun/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The state government has identified one instance of taxpayer dollars being used to subsidize the Russian government.

What's happening: A spokesperson for Governor Brian Kemp, Katie Byrd, said the state will be "fully divested from that agreement by mid-week."

  • A source speaking on condition of anonymity tells Axios the instance was related to the state employee retirement fund.

Catch up quick: Byrd said the review began last week, but remains ongoing.

The big picture: Republican state lawmakers last week introduced a bill to ban the state government from entering any contracts with Russian-backed companies.

  • State House Speaker David Ralston also called on the House Budget Office Monday to review the state's retirement fund for any Russian investments.

What they're saying: The news comes amid strong denouncements of pro-Russian sentiments from other Georgia Republicans Monday.

  • State Sen. Russ Goodman called it "unfathomable" that "any American that calls themself an American with what’s going on in the world today can chant Putin and Russia," in reference to a Friday white nationalist rally where attendees cheered Putin's name. Georgia state Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene headlined that event.
  • Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan said Putin is "a selfish, brutal dictator and anybody who would tell you otherwise is lying."
  • Of Greene, Duncan told Axios "Marjorie Taylor Greene and others like her will continue to stir misinformation just for selfish gain, to get a few more clicks on Facebook or Twitter. And that’s no way to govern."

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger tells Axios that his office is encouraging residents and all Georgia businesses to support the “freedom of the Ukrainian people.”

  • “It’s not appropriate for us to be buying things from Russia or buying Russian products,” he said. “We need let people know that we stand with Ukraine and we stand for freedom.”

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