Despite the obvious trend of transformation of far-right groups into political parties in Georgia, the far-right wing is represented only by the Alliance of Patriots of Georgia in the 2021 local self-government elections. However, political entities such as the Georgian Idea, Georgian March, and Unity, Identity, Hope still run a covert campaign on social media. Their campaign serves to discredit both the ruling party and the rival opposition parties.
The Democracy Research Institute (DRI) examined the pre-election rhetoric of far-right political entities and detected a total of 625 manipulative narratives on 20 webpages of a coordinated platform supporting the Alliance of Patriots, the Georgian Idea and the Nation.
In general, it can be said that far-right political entities are directly or indirectly involved in the pre-election process and use religious and ethno-nationalist manipulative messages to influence the political mood of the electorate.
Pre-election rhetoric of the Alliance of Patriots of Georgia on social media
The Alliance of Patriots of Georgia is conducting an active pre-election campaign and is distinguished by its diverse election programme. The party actively uses various media outlets and platforms, Obiektivi TV channel, party’s YouTube channel and coordinated Facebook groups to communicate with voters. It also shares its election programme and visions on patriots.ge, in the form of an online publication. For the 2021 self-government elections, the party names the elimination of economic poverty as the main challenge and considers pensioners, veterans, poor families and IDPs as the main objects of state care. The Alliance of Patriots again emphasizes the need to restore justice and announces the legal punishment of the Saakashvili-Bokeria tandem. The leaders' activities and political statements are automatically shared on the party's official Facebook page and in a group called Supporters of the Alliance of Patriots.
The tendency to discredit the rival opposition parties and the ruling forces, as well as sharply anti-Turkish and anti-Western rhetoric, can be observed on Facebook groups, such as Wise Georgia and Bakur Svanidze's Internet TV and Friendly Sites (New Links), which were identified as supporters of the Alliance of Patriots as a result of the media monitoring.
Political rhetoric of far-right entities indirectly involved in elections
In the run-up to the 2021 local self-government elections, the far-right political entities that are not directly involved in the electoral process have become particularly active on social media. In particular, the Georgian Idea and the Nation run a manipulative and disinformation media campaign of a sharply political nature through coordinated Facebook pages; Based on religious and ethno-nationalist narratives, they try to create political nihilism in the society and deepen the process of political polarization. The Georgian Idea and the Nation discredit the ruling and opposition forces amid the sharply anti-liberal, anti-Western and anti-vaccine campaign. It is a significant tendency that they openly oppose the Georgian Dream, but not Bidzina Ivanishvili, which may be an indication of their positive attitude towards the informal government leader.
Prevention of Far-Right Extremism in Georgia