"Those people are perverts!" - Georgian authorities accuse opposition and journalists amid 'leaked files'
Georgian authorities attack journalists, opposition amid leaked files compromising the Church
On September 14, the prosecutor’s office in Georgia announced the start of an investigation and called on local TV channels to provide evidence for statements made the day before about the existence of ‘leaked files’ with compromising material that the state security service had obtained by putting surveillance on church leaders and clerics .
During the day, one after another, the leaders of the ruling party announced attempts to illegally monitor their personal lives but blamed it not on the state security service, but on the largest opposition party, the United National Movement.
This party was created by the ex-president of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili, who has been put on the wanted list on several different charges. He does, however, make statements of his intention to return for the local self-government elections scheduled for October 2, 2021.
Several Georgian TV channels announced on September 13 that they had received thousands of classified files, from which it became known that the state security service was listening and watching the personal lives of members of the Synod, the patriarch, his assistants, bishops, and priests. The documents revealed the secret connections with Russia of a large number of clergy. Also, the documents contain information about priests who use drugs, have sexual relations with children, and are also friends with criminals. The authenticity of the materials at this stage has not been confirmed.
“Bolshevik campaign” and “dirty provocation” – the arguments of the authorities and the response of journalists
“The goal of this Bolshevik campaign is to accuse the ruling team of illegal surveillance. For this, they [the United National Movement] will distribute illegally filmed footage or falsifications”, Mamuka Mdinaradze, one of the leaders of the ruling Georgian Dream party, said at a September 14 briefing.
Mdinaradze accused the independent media of “creating a background” in support of the United National Movement.
The chairman of the ruling party Irakli Kobakhidze made much harsher statements about the journalists. He called the general director of the leading TV company Mtavari Arkhi Nika Gvaramia and the famous TV presenter of the Pirveli TV channel Diana Trapaidze “perverts”.
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Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili also accused the journalists of “staging a dirty provocation against the church” in direct coordination with the United National Movement.
“We have repeatedly received information that one of the main goals of the National Movement and Saakashvili, the representative of evil, is to discredit key institutions such as the church and our patriarch. Society will not allow them to get away with it”, Garibashvili said.
The director of the Mtavari Arkhi TV channel Nika Gvaramia said in response that he was outraged by the vocabulary used by the country’s top leaders:
“Garibashvili says that I and others are perverts and immoral. What does it mean? Is this a political assessment or what? Did they witness some of our perversions? “
Pirveli TV presenter Diana Trapaidze said she prefers to leave the insults unanswered “as a sign of respect for the public”.