Kremlin Media ‘ЦАРЬГРАД’ Voices False Claims about the Arrest of the Members of Violent Groups in Georgia

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Reading Time: 4 minutes


On October 15th, 222, the Facebook page of the pro-Kremlin political party “Conservative Movement” published an October 14th story from the Kremlin TV channel ЦАРЬГРАД that concerned the visit of the leaders of the “Conservative Movement” to Russia. The story claimed that Western propaganda in Georgia paints a completely different image of Russia and presents Moscow as a rotten swamp, as a drunk bear sitting armed with an atomic bomb and a bottle of vodka. In addition, the story alleges that the Western propaganda machine is fighting the “Conservative Movement,” and in July 2022, three men who took down and burned an LGBT flag in the center of Tbilisi were sentenced to prison for five years.

The video was also shared by the Facebook page of Alt-Info, a TV channel linked to the “Conservative Movement.”

The claim that three men were sentenced to 5 years in prison for taking down and burning an LGBT flag in July 2022 is false:

  1. Desecrating the flag of the European Union or any other international organizations and countries with diplomatic relations with Georgia is a crime subject to a 1000 GEL fine;
  2. The law does not cover instances of desecrating LGBT symbols;
  3. The persons arrested on July 2nd, 2022, were charged with disorderly conduct and disobedience to a law enforcement officer, which carries fine or 15-day imprisonment.

In July 2022, representatives and supporters of the “Alt-Info”-linked party protested a closed festival organized by the LGBT rights organization “Tbilisi Pride”. Supporters of the “Conservative Movement” have been trying to block the roads and mobilize their forces since July 1st to disrupt the ongoing festival. On July 2nd, the participants of the rally set fire to the EU and NATO flags near the EU office in Tbilisi. Before that, they tore down the flag of the LGBT community on Rustaveli Avenue.

Photo and video materials distributed by Georgian media outlets and journalists also confirm that the footage aired by ЦАРЬГРАД indeed reflects the events of July 2nd, 2022.

Shot from ЦАРЬГРАД (on the left)   Shot from Mariam Nikuradze’s video (on the right)

Shot from ЦАРЬГРАД (on the left) Shot from Alt-Info (on the right)

On July 2nd, 2022, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia arrested 26 members of a violent group in Mtatsminda [district of Tbilisi]. Among them were Zura Makharadze, Irakli Martinenko, Beka Vardosanidze, Guram and Aleksandre Palavandishvili. During the day, the police arrested 17 more people. According to the statement issued by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, these persons were detained under Articles 166 (Disorderly conduct) and 173 (Non-compliance with a lawful order or demand of a law-enforcement officer) of the Administrative Offences Code of Georgia. Notably, Disorderly conduct entails a fine of 500 to 1000 GEL or administrative imprisonment for up to 15 days, while Article 173 provides for a fine of 2000 to 3000 GEL or administrative imprisonment for up to 15 days. Accordingly, claiming that the persons arrested on July 2nd were sentenced to 5 years in prison for burning the LGBT flag is false. The story of ЦАРЬГРАД aims to convey the idea that against the background of “Western propaganda,” strict laws are in force to prevent touching the LGBT symbols in the country. It is also worth noting that those detained were released on July 3rd.

The law stipulates a fine of 1000 GEL for desecrating the symbols of the European Union, NATO and countries with diplomatic relations with Georgia, although the law does not cover LGBT symbols/flags. Accordingly, the participants of the rally could not be punished for desecrating the LGBT flag. As for the desecration of the symbols of the European Union, NATO and the country with diplomatic relations with Georgia, a fine of 2000 GEL or 15 days of imprisonment in the case of repeating the crime would be put in place.

It is worth noting that the groups affiliated with Alt-info, which opposed the holding of “Tbilisi Pride”, burned the flag of the European Union in July 2021. They took part in organized violence against journalists on July 5-7th, 2021, and were arrested on charges of violent actions against journalists and obstruction of their professional activities.

On April 4th, 2022, Tbilisi City Court sentenced 19 persons arrested in the case of mass violence against journalists on July 5th, 2021. The court sentenced 13 of them to 1 to 3 years of imprisonment for violence against journalists and cameramen, and one of the defendants was ordered to pay a fine of 5 thousand GEL. 5 years of imprisonment were sentenced to the persons accused of the violence against Aleksandre Lashkarava – the deceased cameraman of the TV company “Pirveli.” (Akaki Nakashidze; Tornike Davlasheridze; Tsotne Chikhladze; Davit Kutaladze; Otar Gelashvili; Gia Giguashvili).

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Violation: Disinformation



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