PROPONENTS OF VIOLENCE

Pro-Kremlin media as hate speech enhancers in Georgia

The campaign against LGBT + Dignity Week by media outlets close to the Kremlin has created fertile ground for violent demonstrations. Anti-liberal, ultra-conservative and pro-Kremlin actors made various anti-Western accusations before and after the Week of Dignity, including that Western Georgia was embroiled in homosexuality. Pro-Kremlin media outlets fueled anti-Western sentiment and portrayed plans for a “march of honor” from outside. The aggression forced the organizers to cancel the event.

On the day of the “March of Dignity” planned by “Tbilisi Pride”, on July 5, violent anti-LGBT + groups covered the streets of Tbilisi. They attacked activists and journalists(opens in a new tab)And caused material damage and physical injuries. Eventually, they were attacked during violent clashes(opens in a new tab)55 people, including 53 media representatives and foreign citizens of the earring was carrying the wounded(opens in a new tab)During an attack on homophobic grounds. He later died suddenly on July 11th(opens in a new tab)” TV’s first” operator(opens in a new tab), Who was attacked during anti-LGBT + violence. The incident sparked protests by journalists and media representatives, and civil society organizations called on the government to take responsibility.(opens in a new tab).

The violence was also condemned by locals(opens in a new tab)And international organizations(opens in a new tab)And embassies . Amnesty International Deputy CEO for Eastern Europe and Central Asia responds(opens in a new tab)And said that the violence was once again encouraged by the government’s lack of protection for Tbilisi Pride. He also responded to the fact(opens in a new tab) Reporters Without Borders called on the government to investigate and condemn all acts of violence.

Attack planning

Anti-Western narratives spread by pro-Kremlin news outlet Alt-Info(opens in a new tab). Its presenters took part in anti-Pride demonstrations and spread conflicting messages to mobilize violent groups. The first messages appeared a month before the planned Pride event and contributed to the escalation of the situation:

“Alternative for Georgia” [a non-governmental organization registered by Alt-Info hosts] and “Alt-Info” itself will obviously start mobilizing people and I am sure we will be very, very much. Eugene can not even finish, they can not even think that something Eugene can happen there. No one can protect them. I’m telling you directly! “

Examples of other statements where Alternative for Georgia targets Western diplomats can be found here(opens in a new tab)And here(opens in a new tab).

Alt-Info in disseminating these narratives(opens in a new tab)Other pro-Kremlin media outlets joined, including Obiektivi TV(opens in a new tab), Which is affiliated with a party close to the Kremlin, the Alliance of Patriots; “Georgia and the World”(opens in a new tab); And News Front Georgia(opens in a new tab).

“Gayaghlum will be a sign that the LGBT dictatorship is strengthening in Georgia and the country continues to live according to the agenda dictated by the Blue Commissioners.”

“Blue commissars” is related to the Russian word goluboy , “gluboy”, which literally insults the dignity of homosexual men .

Along with these narratives, pro-Kremlin media also reinforced the messages voiced by pro-Kremlin politicians (see examples here(opens in a new tab)And here(opens in a new tab)), According to which the West fights against the Georgian identity, its traditions, the Orthodox Church and the family institution, ie the basic values ​​of the Georgian people (see examples here(opens in a new tab)And here(opens in a new tab)).

“Activists of this organization [Tbilisi Pride] are actively opposing the Orthodox Church, the clergy and, in general, traditional Christian values, as well as the institution of the family.”

Call for violence

After July 5, additional narratives were spread accusing the West of escalating tensions in Georgia and causing civil unrest. Pro-Kremlin media outlets such as Alt-Info and Georgia and the World were more aggressive. They targeted Western diplomats and the EU and the US in general, and they were launching more violent attacks.(opens in a new tab) Threatened:

“We have to overthrow their authority because they are hitting nationality here and they are hitting Christianity here. What we have done is a symbolic act, these flags should become a daily routine. “

One of the hosts of the ultra-right “Alt-Info” directly called on his supporters(opens in a new tab)Towards vandalism and the burning of the EU flag. According to him, videos of the burning of the flag should be uploaded to people on Facebook and invited by friends. As a result, supporters of the ultra-conservative, pro-Kremlin political figure Levan Vasadze and his party, the Nation, burned the EU flag .(opens in a new tab) And thus allegedly protested the insult to Georgian saints.

Russian government media outlets such as RT(opens in a new tab)And RIA Novosti(opens in a new tab) Citizens in different European countries at different times showed the burning of the EU flag and created the impression that anti-EU sentiments were widespread.

Attack on the West

A photo was posted on Facebook with a comment according to which(opens in a new tab), As if the President of the Council of Europe Charles Michel arrived in Georgia dressed in a dress to show solidarity with the “Pride Parade”.

The photo was actually taken at the Pitti Uomo fashion show held in Florence. The photo shows one of the participants in the display. The source of this disinformation often shares the content of the violent groups that are the organizers of the July 5-6 events. The report deleted the post after the Georgian fact-finding platform, Myth Detector, verified the information and tagged it on Facebook.

Several pages shared a video posted back in 2017 that contained false allegations(opens in a new tab), As if Georgia and Moldova adopted a visa liberalization regime with Europe in exchange for legalization of gay marriage. In the video, Yuri Roshka, portrayed as the “former Prime Minister of Moldova” (he served as Deputy Prime Minister from June to September 2009), talks about anti-discrimination law and not the visa liberalization agreement.

The pro-Kremlin news outlet claimed the article(opens in a new tab), As if the President of the Council of Europe Charles Michel said that Georgia is one generation away from joining the European Union, because this generation is not depraved and drugged enough.

Threats against diplomats

The rhetoric directed at foreign ambassadors became particularly harsh after the events of July 5-6. Alt-Info was the most hated. As the examples above show, on July 8, Alt-Info hosts threatened(opens in a new tab)Statements were made to the US and EU embassies(opens in a new tab)Of the procession and their insults(opens in a new tab)About. One of the presenters said(opens in a new tab)That burning the EU flag would be a children’s game compared to what they had planned against the embassies the next day. Another presenter noted that the anger of the Georgian people should be directed towards the EU and US embassies(opens in a new tab), Because they are “creators of all kinds of depravity in Georgia.”

He also actively spread insulting statements against the staff of foreign embassies(opens in a new tab)Pro-Kremlin news outlet News Front Georgia, according to which the representatives of the EU delegation in Georgia are mentally and politically brainless and have been insulting the Georgian people for years. In addition, US Ambassador Kelly Degnan was charged(opens in a new tab)Transforming Georgia into a US colony, where freedom of speech and expression is restricted in the name of democracy. Degnan, along with other Western diplomats, was also accused of indirectly supporting Russia and its goals by supporting the LGBT + campaign in Georgia. News Front Georgia even came up with the initiative to declare Degnan persona non grata(opens in a new tab), Because he allegedly insulted the Constitution of Georgia, the state and the people.

Enhancing hate speech

The anti-LGBT + campaign produced by the pro-Kremlin media before and after the abolished dignity march in Tbilisi is an example of ultra-right attacks on democratic values ​​in Georgia. The campaign also developed and strengthened anti-Western sentiments and sparked hate speech against Georgia’s Western partners. Such violence clearly hinders Georgia’s move to join the European Union and NATO and undermines Russia’s goal of halting Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations. The pro-Kremlin media took advantage of the moment to take advantage of national and religious sentiments and shake the Georgian media space in favor of the Kremlin.

(c) EU vs Disinfo

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