President Slams Gov’t Inaction Over Russia-friendly Far-right

Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili has said “the public is still waiting for the perpetrators to be brought to justice” a year after pro-Russian, far-right mobs led the assault on 50 journalists and forced the cancellation of queer pride parade on July 5, 2021.

“This has been the reality based on which pro-Russian, violent, homophobic, and aggressive groups grew stronger during this period. They grew stronger in a country 20% of which is occupied by Russia, that is completely unacceptable,” President Zurabishvili stated in a Facebook post on July 5.

The President said the rise of Russian-friendly far-right groups, alluding to Alt-Info and its offspring Conservative Movement party, harms Georgia’s European perspective.

Referring to calls for banning the group, President Zurabishvili warned however, that outlawing such groups in a democratic country requires “strong legal arguments so that there is no doubt that freedom of speech and expression are not being violated.” But she said, “it is possible for such a decision to become necessary.”

“Before making such an extreme decision, everyone must take their share of responsibility [and] defending such groups, and encouraging their pro-Russian and anti-European propaganda must become unacceptable.”

To this end, she stressed the need to observe the rule of law, hold perpetrators accountable, control their activities, and identify their funding sources which “is the direct responsibility of the government.”

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