Anti-gender movements in Georgia have noticeably strengthened in recent years. This trend is accompanied by the normalization of gender-based violence, the marginalization of vulnerable women, and the incitement of homophobic sentiments.
Anti-feminist sentiments and anti-gender rhetoric hold an important place in the far-right groups’ and their leaders’ agenda. These groups actively use social and online media platforms to sow false public sentiments. Their messages often specifically target women. In most cases, their anti-gender rhetoric is characterized by an unspontaneous and premeditated campaign.
The Democracy Research Institute analyzed 165 cases of defamatory content involving female politicians, human rights defenders, and public defenders in social networks and online media from September to November 2022.
According to the research conducted by the Democracy Research Institute, far-right actors in Georgia actively discredit women using moral indicators like their dressing style, obedience, abortion, religion, etc. They are particularly aggressive toward feminists and blame them for destroying conservative family values, where the main figure and, therefore, the decision-maker is a man.
The anti-gender rhetoric of these groups is often mixed with homophobic sentiments. The far-right constantly refers to LGBTQ people in derogatory terms and calls the LGBTQ movement and feminists the main opponents of women. Notably, Demna Gvasalia
, the creative director of the French fashion house "Balenciaga," who was awarded the title of an honorary citizen by Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze, became the target of aggressive and homophobic rhetoric of far-right leaders during the reporting period.
the leaders of the "Children's Rights Protection Society" organization, Guram
and Aleqsandre Palavandishvili
, and the founder of the public movement "Georgian Mission," Ramaz Gagnidze
, were particularly vocal in anti-gender rhetoric during the reporting period. The "Alt-Info" team was especially active with anti-gender editorial policy.
During the reporting period, the social networks and online media monitoring identified two main directions in the far-right groups’ anti-gender online discourse with the highest interaction indicators:
- A smear campaign against the Public Defender and the female candidate in particular - Public defender Nino Lomjaria, and candidate for public defender Ana Abashidze, were targeted by the aggressive rhetoric of the leaders of the far-right political party "Conservative Movement/Alt-Info" and the media platform "Alt-Info."
- Anti-liberal rhetoric, directed against "Rustavi 2" TV station. Far-right groups "Georgian Idea," "Children's Rights Protection Society," and "Conservative Movement/Alt-Info" demanded the closure of the "Prime House" program, which they called the "depravity propaganda" embraced by the West.
Another finding of the reporting period is how the official positions of the far-right groups and the Georgian Patriarchate coincide with each other. On November 26, 2022, Deacon Andria Jagmaidze
, the head of the Public Relations Service of the Patriarchate, and the "Alt-Info" team assessed the fact of the attack on a nun in the Nichimukhi nunnery in Khashuri as a severe result of the anti-church campaign
organized by the liberal media and the non-governmental sector.
The far-right actors also responded to the frequent cases of femicide in Georgia and claimed the struggle of the "women's movement" against femicide to be an attack on the church by liberal forces.