The current news hype in social networks around the coronavirus epidemic in Georgia clearly shows the desire of certain forces to use the coronavirus epidemic for selfish political interests. Moreover, the Azerbaijani community and the Georgian Orthodox Church became the main objects of information attacks and provocations in Georgia in connection with the epidemic of coronavirus.
At first glance, this may seem strange. Moreover, more recently, Armenian provocateurs tried to incite believers of the Georgian Orthodox Church against Azerbaijan, fanning scandals and organizing provocations around the David Gareji Monastery. However, in reality, when you consider who will be the main beneficiary of the blows that may follow both the Azerbaijani community and the Georgian Orthodox Church, everything falls into place.
It’s a paradox, but despite the fact that the Republic of Armenia is the leader in the number of coronaviruses infected in the South Caucasus, no one makes any claims against this country and its citizens, as well as the Armenian community of Georgia. Despite the fact that one of the Georgian drivers who transported cargo for Armenian businessmen was already infected with coronavirus in Armenia, and despite the fact that there is a massive flow of goods and drivers from Armenia infected with coronavirus to no less coronavirus infected Russia and vice versa. No one on social networks speaks against the fact that Armenia arranged a kind of “coronavirus entry yard” from Georgia.
Attacks, anger and provocative appeals are distributed only to the Azerbaijani community and the Georgian Orthodox Church. What is the first, so arrogant and provocative, that such a publication as the BBC was forced to react in the article “Life in isolation: how the coronavirus caused an outbreak of xenophobia in Georgia” (https://www.bbc.com/russian/features-52187008?SThisFB&fbclid=IwAR38C4ao_QO-AqxO7fs3InT6nKrkqF5vns8CV9EKnmFPfktjzTe6gUikqu0)
Here are excerpts from this article:
“The coronavirus pandemic has led to an outbreak of racism and xenophobia in different countries. Georgia has so far managed to restrain the growth of coronavirus infections, but a wave of xenophobia has not spared it. This time, not immigrants from Asian countries became the target of bullying on social networks, but ethnic Azerbaijanis who are their compatriots.
“It’s very hard for me. I tell myself that everything will be fine ... Then I see these messages, and I just lose what I believed in,” wrote 22-year-old student and journalist Gulgun Mamedkhanova from the Tekali village of Marneuli municipality on her Facebook page.
So she reacted to the offensive comments that began to appear on social networks after confirming the 62-year-old resident of Marneuli coronavirus and the announcement of quarantine in two regions in southern Georgia.
By that time, there were already more than fifty confirmed cases of coronavirus infection in the country. But the authorities were afraid that the case in Marneuli would be the beginning of a large-scale spread of infection within the country since epidemiologists were not able to establish the source of the infection.
This, they explained the introduction of strict quarantine on March 23 in Marneuli and the neighboring Bolnisi municipalities, in which the majority of the population are ethnic Azerbaijanis.
Officials did not name the person who became infected, as in all other cases. But it was reported that before contacting the local hospital, she was at the wake, where in addition to her there were several dozen people. Rumors that the woman hid from doctors that she was in Azerbaijan added fuel to the fire.
At the entrance to these areas, the military and police stood up, let in only the locals, did not let anyone out. In social networks, many called for punishing the infected woman, who by that time was already in serious condition in one of the clinics in Tbilisi.
The comments accused not only her but all ethnic Azerbaijanis in these areas, of not observing preventive measures and not knowing Georgian. Some users went even further - they called for their expulsion from Georgia, called primitive and backward.
“You brought this crown here from Azerbaijan and Iran,” “the more you leave, the easier it will be for us to breathe” - such comments began to appear under messages about quarantine in Marneuli”.
The Georgian Orthodox Church is also attacked. Under the pretext of quarantine, Patriarch Ilya is required to close all churches, as was done in Europe. Those who are interested in this do not need to calculate too long. Considering that the Armenian Apostolic Church (AAC) officially claims to 442 Georgian churches and the Armenian Catholic Church claims to 23 Georgian churches.
These temples are prevented from being seized by the fact that today they hold Orthodox services and understandably that parishioners and clergy will fight for their shrines.
On the eve of the bright holiday of the Resurrection of Christ (Easter), the pressure on the Georgian Orthodox Church intensified sharply. Even though the Georgian Patriarchate introduced serious anti-epidemic measures in churches, in particular, it calls on parishioners to keep their distance, and in small churches, if possible, listen to the service on the street.
Georgian clergymen also speak of pressure on the Orthodox Church:
“We priests have the right to worship ... Before we started talking about three people, there were ten people, but there were people in the church, and this was not a violation. And in this case, the distance will also be respected, and the service will be broadcast live by the Public Broadcaster. It turns out that we are the enemies of mankind and something we are doing. Since your work is required, and you work, then we, the priests, have the right to perform their services. We are in the service of the Lord and the people. Based on this, why it became purposeful that the church must certainly be closed and communion should not take place in it, I don’t understand, ”said Archimandrite Ioann.
Pressure on the Georgian Orthodox Church is not weakening from different angles. Moreover, here the allies of Armenian nationalists, claiming Georgian shrines, are the excessively liberal and “Europeanized” Georgian politicians who do not understand that, contributing to pressure on the Georgian Orthodox Church, they themselves destroy the foundation of Georgian statehood.
For the right to pray in their Church, the Georgian people have shed blood for centuries. And now he is being urged to close the temples, and then “present” them to the Armenians?
It turns out that if you listen to the provocateurs, “heroes” of social networks, the problems of Georgia are Orthodox believers and Azerbaijanis, that is, the majority of Georgian citizens. They almost need to be expelled from the country. Then who will remain in Georgia? A bunch of liberals, grant-eaters and "ancient and cultural" Armenian nationalists who are only thinking about taking over Georgian shrines and Georgian lands.