The strengthening of anti-gender sentiments in Georgia is on the uptick. It’s characterized by the normalization of gender-based violence, the marginalization of vulnerable groups of women, and attempts to fuel homophobic attitudes. Far-right groups, political leaders, and media representatives are particularly active in this regard. To spread misogynistic and sexist messages, they often use social media and online media platforms.
In order to identify and analyze sexist, misogynistic, and hate speech messages from far-right groups, DRI analyzed 225 cases of defamatory content directed against female politicians, human rights defenders, LGBT+ minorities, and the former Public Defender (Ombudsman) of Georgia on social networks and online media from September 2022 to January 2023.
During the reporting period, it was revealed that when it comes to femicide, the far-right groups’ practice is to completely ignore and deny it, which is especially harmful and dangerous for women. In fact, it’s one of the primary practices in their entire agenda with a coordinated, disinformative media campaign against women's rights activists and gender movements.
Aggressive and discrediting messages directed against feminists are often combined with anti-Western rhetoric. The far-right leaders are trying to create an image of the "depraved West" in society, with values that are incompatible with Georgian culture. In return, they offer their supporters an alliance with Russia, emphasizing the shared faith (Orthodox Christianity).
During the research period, monitoring identified two main directions in the anti-gender discourse of far-right groups, with a particularly high indication of online interactions:
- Femicide Denial - In Georgia, far-right actors often refuse to recognize certain violent practices are gender-based and actively use this denial policy to demoralize women's rights defenders and gender movements. During the research period, two horrific acts of violence against women came to the attention of far-right groups. First, the rape of a nun in the Ttskhramukha nunnery in Khashuri (November 26, 2022), then the murder of Lisa Kistauri, a transgender woman in Belgium (January 2023). In both cases, they ascribed moral responsibility to liberal media outlets and representatives of the NGO sector.
- Homophobic Rhetoric - Fanning homophobic sentiments takes one of the primary places in the Georgian Far-Right Groups’ anti-gender rhetoric. They often try to discredit their opponents and make the liberal media and representatives of the civil sector and culture sphere with liberal values the target of aggressive rhetoric.
Following DRI's observations, far-right actors in Georgia are actively trying to position their rhetoric in accordance with religious-conservative attitudes that exclude women from both political and public life. Their narrative of "family sanctity
" demands strict obedience from women and claims it’s their obligation to be patient. One of the biggest noteworthy findings during the period is that the official positions of the far-right groups and the Georgian Patriarchate fully coincide with each other
. Religiously motivated anti-gender rhetoric perpetuates harmful and dangerous practices against women.Anti-gender rhetoric and trends of the far-rights on social networks and in online media