Statement of Defence Ministry of Georgia
28 October 2020

With the election date approaching, defamation of the defense forces and military personnel is becoming especially intensive. Due to the high interest in the society and desire to prevent deception of at least some members of the society by the media entities abiding to the political agenda, the Ministry of Defence is ready to answer even the most absurd of accusations.  This time politically biased TV channel “Mtavari” is disseminating false accusations, alleging that part of the military personnel are absent from their dislocation areas because they are taking part in the election process.   

 

We want to explain to the public that due to personnel safety interest, we’ve adopted special measures in military facilities from the beginning of the Covid pandemic. Namely, in parallel with the strict sanitary-hygienic conditions, part of the military personnel, where it was possible, was working from distance, while other part of the personnel worked in the military facilities on shift basis in order to avoid spreading the virus and hindering of the functionality of the military unit. Consequently, the adopted measures serve the defense forces’ aim to manage Covid-19 and related issues in a way that would not be detrimental to Georgia’s security interests.

 

As for the accusations of military involvement in the political processes, it is well known to the public that since 2012, the Defense Forces have been a politically neutral state institution, where Georgian citizens of all views unite to defend the country. A characteristic sign for the previous government, the so-called ”closed districts”, that were abolished under the Georgian Dream and total control of the military, only served the use of the Ministry of Defense and the Defense Forces for narrow political interests. There were frequent cases of pressure and inhuman treatment on the military, manipulation by “closed districts”, which were pointed out by all authoritative non-governmental or international organizations.

 

This dire situation, which completely destroyed the institutional foundations of the Defense Forces, has changed radically. Today, military personnel are completely free to make their choice at ordinary polling stations at their own discretion, and any attempt to model this reality on politically biased television channels will be completely unsuccessful.