DRI: Responsibility for the criminal actions committed by the violent groups rests with the authorities

Georgian Dream passed the Russian law, which prohibits free and critical opinions in Georgia, depriving the people of Georgia of the path to the European Union. 

About an hour after the statement made by Parliament Speaker Shalva Papuashvili, civil activist Zuka Berdzenishvili was assaulted. According to reports, three people secretly approached Berdzenishvili from behind near his house and beat him severely. Zuka Berdzenishvili suffered injuries mainly in his face. He underwent emergency surgery.

Shalva Papuashvili's Facebook post refers to "an organized and politically motivated campaign of terror ongoing in the name of Europe", which, according to the Speaker, is being carried out against the MPs who supported the Russian law. Zuka Berdzenishvili is mentioned in the statement along with other activists. According to Shalva Papuashvili, he and his associates called, threatened and insulted Members of Parliament.

The attack on Zuka Berdzenishvili within an hour after Shalva Papuashvili's statement once again proves that the authorities not only incite and promote, but also manage the criminal activities of the violent groups. The incitement to violence by the authorities is a method of intimidation of civil activists, which has  become especially relevant after the re-introduction and adoption of the Russian law. The fact that the authorities are behind the attacks on the offices of civil activists and civil society organizations is confirmed by the June 1 Facebook post of Georgian Dream MP Dimitri Samkharadze, where he indicates: "We will not tolerate anything and we will not pardon you... we will have a thousand times worse, painful and quality response."! We will treat you so that you won't even want to show up anywhere or see each other! . . . We know the identity of each of you."

Although in most cases the identity of the attackers on activists, politicians and offices of civil society organizations is identifiable, moreover, there is the testimony of Dimitri Samkharadze, where he confirms that the processes are managed by Georgian Dream, until now there has been no progress in the formal investigation.

The Democracy Research Institute expresses solidarity with all activists and civil society organizations.