Violence in the Name of Orthodoxy – Where is the government?


At first glance, the state seemed to acknowledge its weakness and said it could not protect the constitutional rights of Tbilisi Pride organizers; However, the statements of high-ranking government officials also made it clear to many that the state did not, in fact, stop the violence and acted in the interests of the violent groups and the patriarchate. Politicians and human rights activists are discussing the events of July 5 as part of a deliberate plan to remove Georgia from Western orbit and strengthen pro-Russian influence.

Hate groups launched raids and attacks on the morning of July 5: beating people, dismantling tents in front of parliament, dropping EU flags, raiding Tbilisi Pride’s office, and attempting to break into ცხ shame’s office. All this was happening in Tbilisi in the name of Orthodoxy, to stop the “March of Dignity”.

Hate groups brutally beat journalists. About 50 members of the media were injured, including two – Radio Liberty journalists. Police did not arrest any perpetrators on the spot. The agency only later made statements about the initiation of criminal cases and the intention to punish the perpetrators.

Georgian Dream authorities said the violence was unjustified, but eventually blamed the organizers of Tbilisi Pride again.

The chairman of the ruling party, Irakli Kobakhidze, said that the organizers of the “March of Dignity” did not take into account the expected dangers amid a large-scale public protest and did not postpone the event in time.

Postponement of ‘March of Dignity’ Considered Only Step to Prevent Confrontation Irakli Gharibashvili too. His statement made in the first half of the day on July 5 was considered by many to be an incentive for violent groups, including the Public Defender. Nino Lomjaria too. According to him, the Prime Minister “rightly equated violent and peaceful groups.”

Politicians and human rights activists point out that the authorities could have prevented the violence if they had needed to, because when it deemed it necessary, the government used unprecedented police resources and excessive force, such as during the June 20 events and the arrest of UNM Chairman Nika Melia.

Giorgi Tabagari, the head of “Tbilisi Pride” writes on his Facebook page that the perpetrators were actively and organizedly pursuing the organizers of the “March of Dignity” and somewhere “Something Explosive” Even joined. Tabagari asks the question – “How could these people be mobilized so effectively without the help of SUS and the state ?!” .

Indifference or helping the abusers?

The statement made by Irakli Gharibashvili also attracted public attention on political grounds and made it clear to many that – protecting the rights of the organizers and supporters of the “March of Dignity” was not in the interests of the government.

The Prime Minister said, and later Irakli Kobakhidze reiterated that the provocation of public unrest by the “March of Dignity” is in the interests of the radical opposition and, above all, the “National Movement” and that the opponents are behind the processes.

“Unfortunately, revanchist radical groups are still behind the organizers of today’s rally. In particular, the radical opposition led by Saakashvili. They are involved. I declare with absolute responsibility that they are organizing this march and these rallies. ” – Gharibashvili said.

The United National Movement thinks that with such statements the government is trying to cover up the obvious fact that on July 5 it supported the hate groups mobilized by the Patriarchate and, consequently, allowed them to act freely. UNM MP Roman Gotsiridze tells us that the “immoral slander” of the Prime Minister is also motivated by election goals.

“This is a pre-election trick to fool the population. We see the actions of the Patriarchate and the government on the principle of “hand in hand”. The government needs the support of the patriarchate in the elections, while the patriarchate, in turn, still expects budget funding, funding from businessmen close to the government – with money stolen from the budget; Transfer of property, lands, forests and so on … This is a direct Russian style. It can be said that Russia was running in Tbilisi today as a patriarchate and a government. “ – Roman Gotsiridze told Radio Liberty.

Russian factor, anti-Western sentiment

According to the theologian Beka Mindiashvili, the founder of the Institute for Tolerance and Diversity (TDI), Orthodoxy in Georgia has gradually moved from the stage of “ideologization” to the stage of “politicization” after the “very close” business with the ruling team of the Patriarchate appeared in the political arena. Levan Vasadze And these processes “Should “Let’s also read it in a geopolitical context, because this project is directly related to Russia.”

Beka Mindiashvili told RFE / RL that in the context of the Tbilisi Pride events, homophobia was just an “irritating” excuse – the mobilization of people by the Patriarchate.

“The aim of this project is what we saw today (July 5) on Rustaveli Avenue (in front of the parliament building) – to raise the EU flag and declare the dominance of realistically pro-Russian forces under the guise of nationalist discourse. “The patriarchate said today – we are the main political player in our society, we do not obey liberal democracy and the constitutional order based on human rights.” – Mindiashvili tells us.

According to him, the government is “read” as part of this project, because it has done nothing to protect the rights guaranteed by the constitution, and in this regard, “first of all, the responsibility lies with the Prime Minister, Irakli Gharibashvili.”

A large part of the society expressed clear anti-Western sentiments published by the Patriarchate on July 3. In the statement, By which he called on the people to mobilize as much as possible. The text states that the embassies accredited in Georgia, with the support of the “March of Dignity”, exert pressure, sharply interfere in “public and spiritual life” and support “propaganda of a perverted way of life.”

It is clear to theologian Giorgi Tiginashvili that the violent groups instigated by the Patriarchate punished the representatives of the critical media on July 5, for example, because this part of the society is considered to be a defender of Western values.

“Here is the battle against the Western platform, the vector and the exchange rate in value. “The Patriarchate’s goal is to see the West, Western values, the free world, the critical media and free citizens as an insurmountable barrier that it cannot tame, and therefore threatens their capital, both financially and in terms of electoral support for the government.” – Giorgi Tiginashvili tells us.

The fact of mass beating of journalists was announced by the Patriarchate on July 5, in its statement “Some Violent Incident” He called it and, indeed, assessed the incident as “absolutely inadmissible”, but did not ask the government to stop or punish the perpetrators. Before that Patriarchate He actively urged the authorities not to allow a completely peaceful and non-violent “march of dignity” to avoid destabilizing the country.

The head of the Georgian parish of Manchester and Birmingham, Archbishop Ilia Chighladze, is fully responsible for the events of July 5. In a statement posted on his Facebook page, the dean called the patriarchate “the creator of a violent contract”; And accuses the government of “deliberate laziness.”

On the evening of July 5, the Patriarchate issued another statement stating that “Church refrains from calling for violence during today’s rally” And “Similar facts committed by the clergy will be responded to in the near future.” But the fact is that they, like the government, blame the LGBTQ + community for what happened.

The head of the public relations department of the Patriarchate said on Imedi TV that the LGBT community itself had brought the case to the level of violence, which “crossed the minds of the population.” “The problem arises after the propaganda of their way of life begins” – Jagmaidze said.

On July 5, after a service in Kashveti, the co-patriarch, Reverend Shio, said that the more times there was an attempt to “hold a similar event,” the more “the nation would always unite against it.”