D3.1 Country Report | April 2021
Author: Shota Kakabadze, Bidzina Lebanidze – Georgian Institute of Politics (GIP)
The following document, a report on radicalisation and de-radicalisation, was produced for the D.Rad project with the objectives of exposing main trends of radicalisation in Georgia; identifying the actors/individuals behind these processes; and describing the programmes and concrete events addressing the issues through de-radicalisation.
The major sources of radicalisation in Georgia that include concrete, ideological examples for this report were drawn from both Orthodox Christian fundamentalism and the islamist movement that has caused young men from Pankisi Gorge to join ISIS in Syria and Iraq. In the case of the former, the study identified several individuals and organisations closely associated with the Georgian Orthodox Church, which united with alt-right groups involved in several violent attacks on sexual or religious minorities. The Muslim radicalisation, even though producing no violent incidents in Georgia, revealed that young people left to fight for ISIS and acquire fame back in their home country, or upon their return to Georgia.
The report also discusses non-ideological forms of radicalisation, which include political party-driven polarisation. At present this appears to be the single most important challenge for Georgia, having a significantly negative impact on political stability and development.
Finally, several state and non-state programmes aimed at de-radicalisation are described, although these have remained relatively underdeveloped. More substantial approaches are needed to address the challenges discussed. This research is based essentially on media and news sources, academic studies and those produced by specialized think tanks and NGOs that work in these related fields.