Georgian Far-Right Nationalism and the Russian Factor

Oscar Wales
Inter at Caucasian House

The views expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and may not coincide with the official position of Caucasian House

Introduction

Along with the other former Soviet republics, Georgia gained its independence in 1991 and set out on its own distinct path of development. The following 26 years have seen dramatic shifts and seismic events in the social, economic and political fabric of the country as it has attempted to distance itself from its legacies as a subject of the USSR (1921–1991) and the Russian Empire (1801–1918). This same period has also seen Georgian nationalism go through major changes, as a new wave emerged in the late 1980s and early 1990s, dipped in popularity from 1992-1999, and then has enjoyed a resurgence in the new millennium.[1] Concurrently, Georgia’s relationship with Russia in the post-Soviet period has been tumultuous; particularly surrounding the latter’s involvement in the de-facto states of South Ossetia and Abkhazia and the 2008 Russo-Georgian war. For these reasons, many Georgians see Russia as an occupying force that has compromised the country’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity. At the same time, particularly since the re-election of Vladimir Putin as the president of the Russian Federation in 2012, a concerted effort has been made by the Russian authorities to cast the country as the new centre of traditional, conservative and Orthodox values that stands diametrically opposed to Western liberalism, developing Russia’s ‘conservative soft power’. At the same time, since 2013 small far-right nationalist groups have become more visible in Georgia.  For those that fear the loss of the country’s identity in the face of potential EU integration, it is possible that Russia could represent a more desirable alternative; a geopolitical force that supports the centrality of the Church in daily life and opposes the imposition of foreign Western values. However, others fear that certain far-right groups are ‘pro-Russian’ and actively cooperate with Russia to increase its influence in Georgia. These fears are shared by a wide spectrum of Georgian society, from pro-European liberals to other nationalists. For this reason, this paper aims to decipher exactly what role Russia has in the contemporary far-right. The first section will address the history and evolution of post-Soviet Georgian nationalism and its relationship to Russia up until the end of the Saakashvili period. The second section will look at contemporary far-right nationalism’s fight for traditional values and the position of Russia in it. The final section will then critically assess claims that certain far-right groups are ‘pro-Russian’.

Post-Soviet Georgian Nationalism and Russia: From Gamsakhurdia to Saakashvili

Natalia Sabanadze, writing in 2010, identifies three phases in the history of post-Soviet Georgian nationalism.[2] The first of these periods lasted from 1988–1992 and witnessed the revival of contemporary Georgian nationalism. During the 1980s, the Soviet policies of perestroika and glasnost were accompanied by a growing interest in Georgian national history and a ‘general process of the revival of national identity’.[3] By the end of the decade, this had gradually evolved into a political movement with overwhelming popular support, particularly following the tragedy on 9 April 1989 when Soviet troops forcefully dispersed a rally in Tbilisi against Abkhaz secession, leading to 21 deaths and hundreds more injuries. A key figure in this national liberation movement was Zviad Gamsakhurdia. After becoming the chairman of the Supreme Soviet, he was able to organise a referendum on the country’s independence, secede from the Union, then be elected as the first president of independent Georgia. His ideology put emphasis on the racial purity of Georgia, Orthodoxy and social conservativism. Under Gamsakhurdia, the country expressed its intention to join euro-Atlantic structures and Russia was viewed as an enemy of the nation that might hinder its development. As Sabanadze notes, ‘[t]he general conspiracy theory with the Kremlin at its center was tirelessly employed by Georgian nationalists as an explanation for all social, economic, cultural, and political troubles.’[4]

Gamsakhurdia’s time in power ended dramatically when he was forced to flee the country as members of the public, together with the military, took to the streets to protest against his nationalist government that had failed to deliver on many of its promises. Many people accused the president of authoritarianism, blamed the government for the country’s instability and accused it of not dealing with the deteriorating situation in Abkhazia and South Ossetia effectively. Subsequently a new president, Eduard Shevardnadze, took his place. As put by Sabanadze, he ‘did not suffer from romantic nationalistic ambitions and was more concerned with the consolidation of the state and his power within it.’[5] Nationalist rhetoric was replaced by concepts of citizenship, minority rights and federalism.[6] This period also saw Georgia’s acceptance by the international community and bodies such as the UN, whilst the country embarked on a pro-Western foreign policy. Strengthening ties with Western powers was partly intended to ‘balance’ the threat from Russia at a time of either ambivalent or strained relations. However, Shevardnadze’s government was marked by corruption and failed economic reforms, planting the seed of scepticism towards Georgia’s euro-Atlantic aspirations and Western influence. Parties began to emerge that mixed together anti-Western, anti-globalisation, pro-Russian and nationalistic rhetoric.[7]

In the new millennium, Georgian nationalism regained traction, with Orthodoxy again playing a central role in the vision of the nation. Following the Rose Revolution in 2003, Saakashvili tapped into Georgian nationalist sentiment with the introduction of the new flag, heavy with Christian symbolism, and references to the heroism of the Georgian nation in his speeches. He also supported the Church and helped it grow in influence. However, Saakashvili tried to transform nationalist sentiment ‘into a more modern, multiethnic, and civic-based patriotism’.[8]  Saakashvili also put heavy emphasis on the importance of Georgia’s Western orientation and joining international bodies such as NATO and the EU. At the same time, he turned the country away from Russia, leading to a deterioration in relations between the two countries, which included the 2006 embargo on the importation of Georgian wine and came to a head in the 2008 war with Russia over South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The war and events both following and preceding it helped to catalyse negative or hostile opinions of Russia as an external aggressor that had helped to compromise Georgia’s territorial integrity. Russia’s recognition of the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, as well as the subsequent break in Georgian-Russian diplomatic relations, only served to worsen people’s view of its northern neighbour.

By contrast, other nationalist circles no longer saw Russia, a fellow Orthodox nation, as the greatest threat to the nation. Instead, they fretted over the influence of globalisation and Western influence on Georgia.[9] This found them in opposition to the type of nationalism promoted by Saakashvili. As the government was associated with the process of globalisation and Westernisation,  these other nationalist groups saw the Church ‘as an alternative center of power capable of balancing out corrupting, anti-national influences of [the] globalizing state and its ruling elite.’[10]  As such, the 2000s saw the ‘diversification of Georgian nationalism, during which two competing and radically different variants of nationalism appeared.’[11] The first was civil and pro-Western, whilst the second was more ethnoreligious and Eurosceptical. However, under Saakashvili there was a ‘saturation of discourses’, which led to the predominance of civic nationalism and pro-Western policies. According to Jason Stakes ‘[t]hese discourses suggested that, given the inherently European foundations of Georgian society and culture, it was Russian manipulation rather than Georgian ethno-nationalism that fuelled the civil conflicts and secessionist wars of the early 1990s, while Soviet legacies and Russian influence are responsible for all instances of intolerance, xenophobia and extremism in contemporary Georgia.’[12] Under Saakashvili, the term ‘pro-Russian’ was used extensively against opposition groups. Whilst this term had originally meant someone who supported positive relations with Russia, it came to mean ‘traitor’, someone who was trying to undermine Georgia’s sovereignty. Accusations of association with Russia became one of the most popular ways to discredit opponents. This had been the case during the 2007 anti-government protests when tens of thousands of people protested in Tbilisi against police abuses and human rights violations. The government responded by accusing the organisers of collaborating with Russian secret services and attempting to stage a coup.

Russia and the Georgian Far-Right’s Fight for Traditional Values

Under Saakashvili, there had been little room for debating Georgia’s euro-Atlantic course. As put by Thomas de Waal, the government attempted to push through ‘an enlightened, Westernizing, modernizing regime’ by any means necessary, ‘including quite abusive methods’.[13] Anti-Western sentiment and Euroscepticism began to grow in the final years of his presidency. Saakashvili had advanced pro-Western policies; however, he had also harboured authoritarian tendencies, creating a negative association with the West in the minds of some. Additionally, despite frequent talk of joining the EU and NATO, for most people these policies had brought about few tangible results and ascension to these international bodies seemed only more elusive. Data shows that trust in the EU fell from 45% in 2011 to 27% in 2015, whilst distrust rose from 10% to 17%.[14] Additionally, since 2013 public fear of state authorities has decreased as people began to see the decision-making centre as increasingly weak, ‘giving more room for the expression of social tensions and discontent’.[15] Consequently, the expression of conservative or far-right nationalist discourse became more common. Such attitudes did not suddenly arise from nowhere after 2013, but people began to feel more comfortable in publically expressing non-mainstream views. As put by Archil Sikharulidze, it would have been unimaginable to see nationalists marching on the streets five years ago.[16]

Additionally, certain parallels can be found between the rhetoric of the new Georgian far-right and ideas espoused by the Russian government, which since 2012 has promoted itself as the new centre of traditional and Orthodox values in opposition to so-called Western liberal decadence. This has helped to develop Russia’s ‘conservative soft power’, whereby its ‘conservative values and illiberal governance model generate admiration and followership’.[17] This has been visible throughout Europe, with far-right movements such as France’s Front National and Germany’s Alternative für Deutschland praising Putin’s policies and advocating for closer ties with Russia. Indeed, there are strong similarities between the positions of the Georgian far-right and those of the Russian government on the protection of traditional values, particularly in terms of Orthodox and anti-LGBTQ ideas.

Religion and the Orthodox Church hold an incredibly important place in Georgian society. Significantly, a 2012 survey by the Institute for Policy Studies found that two-thirds of Georgians put Christianity, not nationality, as the basis of their identity.[18] Furthermore, the more conservative or far-right strains of Georgian nationalism rally heavily around Orthodoxy. They have supported the Georgian Orthodox Church (GOC) in its attempts to protect Orthodoxy, such as during a 2016 protest by priests and far-right nationalist groups against a Papal visit to Tbilisi. The visit was claimed to be ‘an affront to the purity’ of Georgian Orthodoxy and ‘an insult to the Georgian people’.[19] The GOC itself, whilst divided into several camps with differing political views, is currently lead by a group that often promotes monarchist and eschatological narratives that depict the EU and USA as enemies that propagate sins such as drugs and homosexuality. The GOC views pro-Western politicians as a threat to the ‘unique essence of the Georgian nation’ and promotes an idea of ‘religious nationalism’, whereby the law should be based on a moral agenda.[20] Furthermore, the Georgian and Russian Orthodox Churches have maintained relatively close ties since 1991, but in the post-Saakashvili period the narrative of ‘shared faith’ has become increasingly prominent in the rhetoric of the GOC.[21] Although his statements can be contradictory at times, in recent years Patriarch Ilia II has advocated for improving Russian-Georgian relations, saying that ‘we have always been fraternal nations and will stay this way’.[22] Both Churches share a desire to protect traditional values and have an incredibly loyal following amongst the general public as well as far-right groups. Indeed, members of the far-right Christian communities from Georgia, Russia and America convened in Tbilisi in 2016 for the World Congress of Families, a US coalition (strongly supported by Russia) that promotes conservative Christian values such as the protection of heterosexual, procreative marriage. The anti-LGBTQ and anti-choice agenda of the event provided ‘a degree of ecumenical and political unity among American, Georgian and Russian attendees’,[23] demonstrating cooperation between far-right circles in Russia and Georgia on such issues.

In the fight for the protection of traditional values in both Russia and Georgia, one of the biggest victims has been the LGBTQ community. Since 2012, state-endorsed homophobia has been on the rise in Russia with support from the Church.  Simultaneously, many Orthodox figures in Georgia point to LGBTQ rights in Europe as an example of how Westernisation contradicts traditional values. Georgian priests have recently become more extreme in their denouncements of homosexuals, calling them ‘sons of devils’, for example.[24] In 2013, a Pride event in Tbilisi that was held to commemorate the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia on 17 May, however thousands of people attacked the event, leading to the hospitalisation of 12 people. Orthodox Priests themselves took part in the counter-protest, and Ilia II had previously called on the authorities to ban the event, stating that it would be an ‘insult’ to Georgian tradition.[25] A wide range of far-right Georgian nationalist organisations and figures echo this view, with groups such as Georgian Power promoting a strong anti-LGBTQ narrative. On social media sites such as Facebook, far-right groups like ‘The Red Pill’ become increasingly active on ‘strategic dates’, for example on 17 May. Members share homophobic memes and messages with each other and support Ilia II’s idea of creating an alternative commemoration, ‘Family Day’ to also take place on 17 May.[26] It is important to note, however, that Church-endorsed homophobia also resonates with a large majority of the population, with one survey from 2011 showing that 88% of respondents believed homosexuality could never be justified.[27] Critics say that Russia is using ‘prejudice against the LGBTQ community as a way to rally support among Georgians, claiming the country is at risk of becoming a “temple of decadence and “homosexuality” if it continues to seek closer ties with the EU, a path that includes enshrining protections for minority groups.’[28] This seems to be an example of the Russian government deploying its conservative soft power in the region by ‘fanning the flames of homophobia’.[29]

The Georgian far-right advocates for policies and ideas that are promoted by the Russian government. Religion creates a special bond, especially in the fight for traditional values and protection from Western ideas, particularly LGBTQ rights. This can create the impression that Russia’s conservative soft power is working well in Georgia, however, the situation is not that simple. Many have been quick to accuse certain nationalist groups of being ‘pro-Russian’ traitors, often using these similarities as a basis for their assertions. However, it is important to critically assess these claims in order to ascertain the reality of the situation as to whether such groups truly support (or receive support from) Russia.

Georgian Nationalism and the ‘Pro-Russian’ Label

As previously mentioned, it became common in the Saakashvili period to use the term ‘pro-Russian’ against government opponents in order to brand them as traitors. This phrase has remained in use since 2013, and certain nationalist groups have found themselves in the crosshairs. In 2013, a law on ‘foreign agents’ was passed in Russia as part of the government’s attempts to reign in civil society. The law effectively restricted the activities of NGOs receiving funding from abroad, particularly those working in sensitive areas such as human rights protection or strengthening democracy. Interestingly, during the Georgian March, a 2017 protest against Muslim immigration to Georgia, the protesters demanded that the activities of foreign-funded NGOs in Georgia be restricted.[30] The similarity of these positions roused some suspicion, particularly because members of the Alliance of Patriots (whose members took part in the March) had met with Russian Duma deputies just days before the protest took place.[31] The party, which mixes together elements of populism, nativism and nationalism, has often been accused of being ‘pro-Russian’ and drew heavy criticism for sending members to Moscow to discuss issues including the situation in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. However, responding to allegations by Saakashvili’s old party, United National Movement (UNM), that the Alliance of Patriots was ‘pro-Russian’, the current General Secretary of the party, Irma Inashvili, said that UNM was the true pro-Russian party for giving away twenty percent of Georgia’s territory to Russia.[32] Kornely Kakachia, director of the Georgian Institute for Politics, has stated that it would be ‘inaccurate’ to call the Alliance pro-Russian, arguing that they are ‘Russia neutral, but nationalistic with social conservative ideas, and also a very strong anti-Turkish sentiment.’[33] Indeed, it seems that the party’s position is far more ‘nuanced’ than its accusers claim, simultaneously supporting EU integration and more comprehensive trade with Russia (which remains the biggest international market for products such as Georgian wine).[34] Indeed, the party seems to be balancing its interests between Russia and the West rather than solely supporting ‘pro-Russian’ policies.

Other groups have also come under fire for alleged association with Russia. Whilst far-right nationalist groups in Georgia, such as Georgian National Unity, share the same ideas as their Russian counterparts, for example that LGBTQ rights are part of a Western conspiracy to dominate the world, they strongly rejects common assumptions that far-right protests and rallies are funded by Russia.[35] In fact, many similar groups ‘heatedly deny’ that they are ‘pro-Russian’, pointing to Russia’s imposition of communism in Georgia and its role in Abkhazia and South Ossetia to show how Russia is no friend of the Georgian nation.[36] Many far-right groups are highly critical of Russia. One of these is the National Front, a very small far-right group interested in defending Orthodox values, protecting the genetic makeup of the Georgian nation, opposing LGBTQ rights and preserving the country’s national sovereignty. The group strongly opposes Russian interference, instead seeing Georgia’s future lying in Europe.[37] Some go so far as to accuse other far-right groups and figures of being Russian collaborators. The Dinamo Ultras have criticised figures such as Sandro Bregadze, one of the organisers of the Georgian March, for being ‘pro-Russian’ and not true patriots.[38] These examples demonstrate that far-right beliefs do not necessarily correlate with support for Russia.

One week following the Georgian March, the opposition party European Georgia held a rally titled ‘No to Russian Fascism’. The demonstrators protested against ‘Russian occupation, violence, hate speech, racism and xenophobia. They said that all tactics designed by Russian ‘soft power’ promoting xenophobia and persecution of certain groups are unacceptable.’[39] As well as far-right nationalist groups, organisations that promote ties with Russia and a socially conservative agenda in Georgia have been targeted by similar critics. However, representatives of such groups argue that they are treated unfairly. The Eurasian Institute, founded in 2009, promotes stronger ties with Russia, highlighting the countries’ shared values and seeing integration with Russia as the only way to re-establish relations with Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The organisation is also highly critical of Georgia’s Western direction, arguing that the current relationship between Georgian and the West is ‘neo-colonial’, and that Georgians should not have to accept foreign values like LGBTQ rights. Gulbaat Rtskhiladze, the founder of the Eurasian Institute, asserts that the ‘pro-Russian’ label is the most powerful ‘propaganda term’ that can be used to discredit organisations in Georgia. However, Rtskhiladze argues that approving of increased ties with Russia does not mean that you are ‘anti-Georgian’, in reality he believes this is what is in the best interests of the Georgian nation. Furthermore, he claims his organisation represents a silent majority who desire closer ties with Russia.[40] A former member of the Institute, Shota Apkhaidze, was involved in the organisation of the Georgian March. He denies the existence of any Russian support for the demonstration, financial or otherwise. He argues that it is simply not in the country’s interests to support nationalist organisations in countries like Georgia because they are not ‘pro-Russian’ and do not have any relevance to the country. Additionally, he believes that despite support from conservatives abroad, Russia’s politics are highly fragmented and not entirely nationalistic or Orthodox due to factors such as ‘the important factor of Islam and Islam Kadyrov in Russia’. He also suggested that other groups labelled the protest as ‘pro-Russian’ because of political competition, not only from pro-Westerners, but also from other nationalist groups.[41]

The ubiquity of the ‘pro-Russian’ label can certainly be put under scrutiny. Archil Sikharulidze argues that automatically blaming Russia for examples of social discontent, such as the Georgian March, demonstrates ‘the total inability of Georgian actors to think beyond the ‘Russian framework’ and analyze events based on the current local political, social and economic conditions rather than external factors.’[42] He believes that the Georgian March followed a typical pattern in countries with poor socio-economic conditions where citizens protest against the arrival of a foreign workforce. Locals argue that these immigrants are taking jobs that should be given to them, particularly in sensitive areas such as agriculture and private business.[43] Additionally, as put by Revaz Koiava, the recent emergence of far-right nationalists in Georgia can be seen as part of the larger post-Soviet counter cultural movement that is critical of both the West and the Soviet Union. He adds that ‘if one looks from the side-lines, one may think, they are the supporters of the national-socialist movement, but it is not so. They are isolating themselves and are not part of some western or Russian right-wing extremist network. It is a widespread phenomenon in the post-Soviet area.’[44] For this reason, the response of groups such as European Georgia to the Georgian March resembles the actions of Saakashvili’s government by disregarding any manifestations of xenophobia, intolerance or extremism as being part of a Russian conspiracy. Evidently, however, the tendency to accuse groups of association with Russia remains prevalent in the post-Saakashvili era.

Conclusion

Certainly, parallels exist between the values and ideas of contemporary Georgian far-right nationalist groups and the type of social conservativism promoted in Russia, including Euroscepticism, homophobia and support for the role of the church in daily life. Due to a rise in concerns over Westernisation and the importance of Orthodox identity, Russia has positioned itself as an alternative to liberalism. One way in which it has done this is by taking advantage of concerns over issues such as LGBTQ rights, something that many nationalists and ordinary Georgians see as incompatible with Georgian values. The close relationship between the Georgian and Russian Orthodox Churches also increases the perception of fraternity between the two nations. In spite of this, some groups remain highly critical of Russia whilst at the same time promoting traditional Orthodox values, showing that social conservatism does not necessarily correlate with pro-Russian sentiment. Many far-right groups continue to openly criticise Russia and show no signs of supporting it, in spite of some shared ideas and values. Ultimately, the far-right is itself divided into groups with differing priorities and political views.

One continuation from the Saakashvili era, however, is the ubiquity of the term ‘pro-Russian’ in social and political discourse. This label is often used to discredit groups or individuals by branding them as traitors to the nation. The shadow of Russia hangs heavily over Georgian society, particularly following the war in 2008, leading to genuine and understandable concerns over Russian attempts to influence Georgia’s domestic affairs. This controversial topic also shines a light on divisions amongst far-right nationalist groups themselves, with certain groups criticising others for being ‘pro-Russian’. Indeed, certain groups do seem to have a more accommodating view of Russia, whilst others are far more strongly opposed to it. Additionally, groups like European Georgia have actively campaigned against far-right nationalism, seeing their manifestations as part of a Russian conspiracy. However, at times this can closely resemble the policy of the previous government of ignoring the domestic routes of extremist or far-right sentiment. Having been popularised under Saakashvili, the ‘Russian framework’ remains deeply embedded into Georgian political and social discourse. As such, observers need to be careful not to exaggerate the role of Russia in the recent increase in far-right Georgian nationalism.

 

 

 

 


 

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[1] Georgian nationalism first appeared in the 19th century and has experienced waves of popularity since then, both under the Russian empire, independence and Soviet rule. For more information on the beginning of Georgian Nationalism, refer to: Nino Chikovani, ‘The Georgian historical narrative: From pre-Soviet to post-Soviet nationalism’, Dynamics of Asymmetric Conflict, 5.2 (2012), 107–115.

[2] Natalie Sabanadze, Chapter 4. Globalization and Georgian Nationalism In: Globalization and Nationalism: The Cases of Georgia and the Basque Country, online edition (Budapest: Central European University, 2010) <http://books.openedition.org/ceup/573> [accessed 18 October 2017] (para. 47 of 100).

[3] Nino Chikovani, ‘The Georgian historical narrative: From pre-Soviet to post-Soviet nationalism’, Dynamics of Asymmetric Conflict, 5.2 (2012), 107–115 (p. 111).

[4] Sabanadze, para. 59.

[5] Ibid, para. 67.

[6] Revaz Koiava, ‘Georgian National Narratives on Conflicts: 1991–2012’, Regional Dialogue, 1 March 2016 <http://regional-dialogue.com/en/georgian-national-narratives-on-conflicts-1991-2012/> [accessed 19 October 2017] (para. 13 of 25).

[7] Sabanadze, para. 77.

[8] Brian Whitmore, ‘The War at Home – Unity, Nationalism, and Bravado in Georgia’, 11 August 2008 <https://www.rferl.org/a/Georgian_War_At_Home_Unity_Nationalism_And_Bravado/1190003.html> [accessed 20 October 2017] (para. 18 of 20).

[9] Sabanadze, para. 78.

[10] Ibid., para. 80.

[11] Ibid., para. 47.

[12] Jason Strakes, ‘Georgia’s Russian cipher’, openDemocracy, 21 June 2017 <https://www.opendemocracy.net/od-russia/jason-strakes/georgia-s-russian-cipher> [accessed 20 October 2017] (para. 8 of 25).

[13] Thomas de Waal in Claire Bigg, ‘Mikheil Saakashvili’s Polarizing Legacy’, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 24 October 2013 <https://www.rferl.org/a/saakashvili-mixed-legacy/25146918.html> [accessed 20 October 2017] (para. 8 of 44).

[14] ‘Caucasus Barometer time-series dataset Georgia: Trust towards EU’, Caucasian Research Resource Center, 2011–2015 <http://caucasusbarometer.org/en/cb-ge/TRUSTEU/> [accessed 27 November 2017].

[15] Marek Matusiak, ‘Georgia: Is conservative-nationalist sentiment growing?’, Ośrodek Studiów Wschodnich, 4 September 2013 <https://www.osw.waw.pl/en/publikacje/analyses/2013-09-04/georgia-conservative-nationalist-sentiment-growing> [accessed 20 October 2017] (para. 2 of 4).

[16] Archil Sikharulidze, interviewed by Oscar Wales, 9 October 2017.

[17] Zatarzyna Zaczmarska and Vincent Keating, ‘Feared for all the wrong reasons? The workings of Russia’s conservative soft power’, openDemocracy, 22 June 2017 <https://www.opendemocracy.net/od-russia/katarzyna-kaczmarska-vincent-keating/feared-for-all-wrong-reasons-workings-of-russia-s-con> [accessed 27 October 2017] (para. 4 of 29).

[18] Nana Sumbadze, ‘Generations and Values’, Institute for Policy Studies, 2012, <http://www.osgf.ge/files/publications/Taobebi_da_Girebulebebi_-IPS.pdf> [accessed 11 December 2017] (p.107).

[19] ‘Radical Nationalist Groups, Georgian Orthodox Priests Protest Papal Visit’, Georgia Today, 22 September 2016 <http://georgiatoday.ge/news/4708/Radical-Nationalist-Groups,-Georgian-Orthodox-Priests-Protest-Papal-Visit> [accessed 28 November 2017] (para. 2 of 20).

[20] Salome Minesashvili, ‘Can the Georgian Orthodox Church Contribute to the Democratization Process?’, Georgian Institute of Politics, January 2015 <http://docenti.unimc.it/g.fanci/teaching/2015/15020/files/georgian-orthodox-church> [accessed 26 October 2017] (p. 4).

[21] ‘Traditional religion and political power: Examining the role of the church in Georgia, Armenia, Ukraine and Moldova’, ed. by Adam Hung, The Foreign Policy Centre, October 2015 <http://fpc.org.uk/fsblob/1707.pdf> [accessed 30 October 2017] (p. 52).

[22] Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II in Nadezhda Kevorkova, ‘Patriarch of Georgia: Our Church and people never cut ties with Russia’, Russia Today, 22 July 2013 <https://www.rt.com/op-edge/patriarch-georgia-russia-ties-438/> [accessed 2 November 2017] (para. 17 of 41).

[23] Giorgi Lomsadze, ‘A “Family Gathering” Commemorates an Anti-Gay Riot’, Coda Story, 12 May 2016 <https://codastory.com/lgbt-crisis/world-council-families> [accessed 29 November 2017] (para. 11 of 21).

[24] Emanuele Amighetti, ‘In pictures: Russia looms large over Georgia’s LGBTQ community’, Politicio, 14 May 2017 <https://www.politico.eu/interactive/in-pictures-russia-looms-large-over-georgia-lgbt-community/> [accessed 26 October 2017] (para. 7 of 10).

[25] ‘Georgia: Homophobic violence mars Tbilisi Pride event’, Amnesty International, 17 May 2013 <https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2013/05/georgia-homophobic-violence-mars-tbilisi-pride-event/> [accessed 26 October 2017] (para. 1 of 1).

[26] Luka Pertaia, ‘Georgia’s Ultranationalists: Going Fascist on Facebook’, Chai Khana, 14 July 2017 <https://www.chai-khana.org/en/georgian-ultranationalist> [accessed 1 November 2017] (para. 20 of 21).

[27] ‘Caucasus Barometer 2011 Georgia: JUSHOMO: Justified or not – homosexuality’, Caucasus Research Resource Center, 2011 <http://caucasusbarometer.org/en/cb2011ge/JUSHOMO/> [accessed 31 October 2017].

[28] Amighetti, para. 5.

[29] Lomsadze, para. 16.

[30] Archil Sikharulidze, ‘Out with the Russian Framework: the Untold Story of the Georgian March’, ArchilSikharulidze.Ge, 31 August 2017 <http://archilsikharulidze.ge/index.php/2017/08/31/out-with-the-russian-framework-the-untold-story-of-the-georgian-march/> [accessed 23 October 2017] (para. 3 of 12).

[31] Luka Pertaia, ‘Who was in and who was out in Tbilisi’s far-right March of Georgians [Analysis]’, OC Media, 17 July 2017 <http://oc-media.org/who-was-in-and-who-was-out-in-tbilisis-far-right-march-of-georgians-analysis/> [accessed 23 October 2017] (para. 19).

[32] ‘Local Elections Boost Alliance of Patriots’, Civil Georgia, 21 June 2014 <http://www.civil.ge/eng/article.php?id=27395> [accessed 27 October 2017]  (para. 32 of 35).

[33] Kornely Kakachia in Joshua Kucera, ‘Georgia: Disillusionment with Establishment Fuels Rise of Populism’, EurasiaNet, 24 October 2016 <http://www.eurasianet.org/node/81001> [accessed 7 November 2017] (para. 16 of 27).

[34] Ibid., paras. 20–21.

[35] Pertaia, ‘Fascist on Facebook’, paras. 16–17.

[36] Ibid., para. 5.

[37] Information on the National Front came from research conducted for the report: ‘Euro-Atlantic Skepticism in Georgian Civil and Political Space’, Caucasian House, 2015 <http://regional-dialogue.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/skepticism-print-bolo-2.pdf>.

[38] Pertaia, Who was in, para. 23.

[39] ‘”No to Russian Fascism” Demonstration in Tbilisi’, Tabula, 23 July 2017 <http://www.tabula.ge/en/story/122250-no-to-russian-fascism-demonstration-in-tbilisi> [accessed 26 October 2017] (para. 2 of 9).

[40] Gulbaat Rtskhiladze, interview with Oscar Wales, 12 October 2017.

[41] Shota Aphkhaidze, interview with Oscar Wales, 20 October 2017.

[42] Sikharulidze, para. 9.

[43] Archil Sikharulidze, interview with Oscar Wales, 9 October 2017.

[44] Revaz Koiava in Edita Badasyan, ‘Georgian nationalists step out of the shade’, JAM news, 28 September 2016 <https://jam-news.net/?p=5721> [accessed 28 November 2017] (para. 28 of 40).

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