On February 3-4, Facebook pages “ერთი მილიონი ქართველი” (One Million Georgians), “კანსპირატორი” and “Gogaggg” spread the photos depicting the cover of history textbook for grade 9 as well as one of the pages from the same textbook, reading “Source 8: David Gareji is part of Azerbaijan.”
The photo published by “ერთი მილიონი ქართველი” is accompanied by a caption, according to which the book was published in 2009, whereas the “scandalous” material was delivered to the page by a history teacher. The page claims that the United National Movement (UNM) party first sold David Gareji and then decided to teach future generations that David Gareji was not part of Georgia.
One out of two history textbooks approved by the Ministry of Education has been published by Klio Publishing and the other – by Bakur Sulakauri Publishing. Both textbooks have different covers. Sulakauri Publishing notes that it first published the approved history textbook for grade 9 in 2012, not in 2009, and it had an absolutely different design. The textbook published by Sulakauri in 2012 does not contain any such wording about David Gareji; the monastery complex is mentioned only twice in an absolutely different context.
According to the information posted on the official website of the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia, two history textbooks for grade 9 published by two different publishers - Klio and Bakur Sulakauri Publishing - have been approved so far.
The logo of Bakur Sulakauri Publishing is seen on the book cover shown in the photo spread on social media and its authors are: N Asatiani, M. Lortkipanidze, P. Lomashvili, R. Metreveli and G. Otkhmezuri. As for the textbook published by Klio Publishing, it looks quite different visually and it has different authors (Apolon Tabuashvili, Leri Tavadze, Otar Janelidze, Nana Iremashvili).
Speaking with Myth Detector, Tina Mamulashvili, director of Bakur Sulakauri Publishing, said that they first published the history textbook for grade 9 in 2012 and the book cover has a different design. It depicts not Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, but Dmanisi Sioni cathedral. In addition, the textbook, which was approved by the Ministry of Education and Science in 2012, uses a different print font.
One more difference between the history textbook published by Bakur Sulakauri Publishing and the photo spread by Facebook users is the design. The image spread on Facebook shows that the photo depicting David Gareji as well as a relevant text is placed in the upper part of the page, while the field left on the edge is white. Each page of the textbook published by Bakur Sulakauri Publishing has a field matching with the colors of its chapters, also involving the name of a specific chapter. This detail further strengthens the doubt that the spread photo has been edited and it does not depict an authentic textbook.
The history textbook published by Bakur Sulakauri Publishing mentions David Gareji only twice and it says nothing about the claim that the monument had allegedly been assigned to Azerbaijan.
The textbook first mentions David Gareji Monastery Complex in chapter 220, noting that King Alexander of Georgia restored the complex destructed by Timur’s army.
Page 413 of the same textbook again mentions David Gareji in connection with the withdrawal of a firing range from the territory of the monastery complex shortly before the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
Myth Detector reached out to the Ministry of Education and Science for additional information. We will update the article as soon as we receive any feedback from the Ministry.
Spread of the post
As of 1 pm, 5 February 2021, the post published by “ერთი მილიონი ქართველი” has 501 shares. The posts published by Gogaggg and “კანსპირატორი” were shared by 90 and 119 users, respectively. In addition, “კანსპირატორი” published a sponsored post and an estimated total amount of money spent on the ad is less than USD 100.
Prepared by Mariam Dangadze and Medea Sulamanidze
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