“Every Cloud has its Silver Lining” – How is the Far Right Deploying the Coronavirus Outbreak in Georgia?

Nino Gozalishvili

The outbreak of COVID-19 has dominated global social and political discourses; including the discourse of far right actors. In their responses to phenomena such as (political) crises and the degree of socioeconomic integration – far right actors demonstrate a leverage to frame the pandemic and utilize exclusionary right-wing policy proposals. Globally, populist far right groups use, “a crisis of public knowledge,” in order to gain recognition and public legitimacy.[1]  In Georgia this is no exception as far right groups, represented more on social but also on political scenes, have chosen to frame the pandemic using their own terms. As such, a national-populist discourse has reemerged in Georgia related to the discussion about the COVID-19 outbreak.

Considering such a backdrop, this memo analyzes the different ways through which the far right in Georgia conceptualizes the current global health emergency and, in doing so, how it reinforces polarizing narratives within the overarching national-populist discourse. The interpretation of the current global health emergency is framed and inserted into the earlier anti-immigration, anti-pluralist, (ultra)conservative and Eurosceptic discourses. Moreover, the memo looks at the degree of coherence among different actors’ narratives which fall under the term “far right” in the Georgian context.

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[1] Brubaker, Rogers. “Why Populism?,” Theory and Society 46, no. 5 (November 1, 2017): 378, https://doi.org/10.1007/s11186-017-9301-7.

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