Results of social and online media monitoring report for March

The Democracy Research Institute continues to monitor the far-right groups, their leaders, far-right pro-Russian media outlets and the main trends of their activities in social media.  

Anti-Western messages from far-right groups

In March, due to the events caused by COVID-19 pandemic, European Institutions and the Lugar Research Center became the main targets of pro-Russian media outlets. The Democracy Research Institute assesses that the spread of disinformation and myths was openly directed towards discrediting the United States of America and the European Institutions. Openly pro-Russian agencies like „News Front Georgia“ and “Georgia and the World” published multiple articles about the infection caused by a novel coronavirus, portraying the European Union as a weak power, and Russia as a strong protector.

As expected, the pro-Russian disinformative campaign against the Lugar Research Center became more active due to the coronavirus. On March 12, „News Front Georgia“ published an article headlined „Single-celled Nationals[1] and the Lugar Research Center”, which questions the positive role played by the Diagnostic Center in fighting against the virus and claims that any laboratory could have diagnosed the virus. On March 21, the same website also published an article headlined “It’s not Lugar Helping Us, it’s China!”, claiming that all of the excitement around the Research Center serves the United State’s “Soros-propagandistic” interests and in reality China is the one helping Georgia fight the virus.  Identical anti-western messages were circulated on far-right Facebook pages, such as:  „Anti-Paradox“, „Anti-liberal league“, and „Kardhu“.

Homophobic messages from far-right groups

On March 10, supporters of far-right groups gathered in front of “TV Pirveli” building. The protest was planned by Guram Palavandishvili, the Chairman of the “Society for the Protection of Children's Rights” and David Lortkiphanidze, a representative of the non-governmental organization “Zneoba”[2].  They announced the protest under the name „Protect Morality“ on their Facebook page on March 9, and called on the citizens for support.

The protest was directed against the editorial policy of “TV Pirveli” and had a distinctly homophobic character. Supporters of the far-right groups were protesting against the visit of Khatia Akhalaia (the author of  Sex. Ed. video lessons) at “TV Pirveli”, which, in their words, means supporting the pedophilia and “debauchery propaganda”.

Anti-liberal messages from far-right groups

On March 24-25, Tamta Mikeladze, the Director of Equality Politics Program at the Human Rights Education and Monitoring Center (EMC) became the new target of coordinated far-right disinformation campaign. Sandro Bregadze, a representative of “Georgian March”, and Levan Chachua, the leader of „Georgian Idea”, spread information that EMC filed a lawsuit against the Eparchy of Marneuli and Hujabi, appealing against priests blessing the streets with holy water after the quarantine was announced in Marneuli municipality. Similar announcements were circulated by other far-right pages such as: „Anti-liberal league“, „Kardhu“, and „Anti-Paradox“.  Sandro Bregadze made a video claiming that the representatives of the political party “European Georgia” and other liberal forces are standing behind Tamta Mikeladze, and their aim is to discredit Georgian Orthodox Church. The information spread by far-right groups was misleading and only served the purpose of misinforming the society. According to EMC’s statement, the organization filed a lawsuit on the 17th of February, 2020. Thus, it would be impossible to appeal against Georgian Orthodox Church blessing the streets in Marneuli on March 23 when the lawsuit was filed in February.                                                   

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The monitoring was possible with the financial support of the Embassy of the Netherlands in the framework of the project "Understanding and Combating Far-Right Extremism and Ultra-Nationalism in Georgia”.


[1] Meaning the United National Movement

[2] Eng. Trans: Morality