Anti-Liberal “Conservative Movement” Rallies in Support of Controversial Icon Depicting Stalin

In a new development related to the discovery of a controversial icon in Tbilisi’s main cathedral, the pro-Russian, anti-liberal Conservative Movement/Alf-info today mobilized its supporters near the Parliament building to express protest against the “defacement” of the icon of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin. At a rally that began at 15:00 local time, the party’s leaders addressed the gathered crowd, saying that they “would not forgive the insult to the icon of St Matrona” and demanded that all those who they consider responsible be adequately punished.

Konstantine Morgoshia, one of the founder of “Alt-Info said: “If we don’t protest against this fact and don’t have healthy and targeted correct protests, this will be the impetus for the same events to happen as what happened in Ukraine….The healthy part of Georgian society should stand firm and not allow such facts to be repeated.”

According to Morgoshia, those present demanded that the government urgently pass a law making such acts punishable by imprisonment rather than fines. Another demand was for the trial of activist Nata Peradze, who on 9 December threw blue paint over the icon of Joseph Stalin in Tbilisi’s Holy Trinity Cathedral, to be held under an article of the law that will end with her imprisonment.

Irma Inashvili, the leader of the pro-Russian Patriots Alliance party, which donated the icon to the cathedral, also joined the rally.

Carrying crosses, the organizers and participants of the rally submitted a petition to the local police department demanding that the criminal case against Nata Peradze be opened and that the article be re-qualified.

After leaving the vicinity of the Parliament, the participants took part in a procession to the Patriarchate to as they described it, express the people’s love for the Most Holy and Blessed. The final destination was the Sameba (Trinity) Cathedral where the icon of St. Matrona and Joseph Stalin is on display, where the leaders of the Conservative movement, the rally participants and clergy prayed to the icon of St. Matrona.

Previously, on January 10, the anti-liberal and pro-Russian party Conservative Movement has mobilized a group of angry demonstrators near the residence of civil activist Nata Peradze, demanding her punishment and calling on her to come forward and explain herself after “insulting the icon”.

The Patriarchate of the Georgian Orthodox Church made a statement on January 13 regarding the planned rally warning that “the rally planned for today in front of the Parliament building may turn into a political or destructive action” and urging the clergy not to take part in the said action if it takes such a form.

Earlier, on on January 11, the Patriarchate issued a statement saying: “The protection of icons, sanctuaries, Christian values and traditional cultural values in general is the duty of each of us. It is unacceptable to use blasphemy and unhealthy forms of expression against them and to call such actions freedom of speech and expression. At the same time, however, we condemn all forms of violence and call on members of the community not to go beyond peaceful forms of protest.”


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