On 16 September 2015, in her speech before the Parliament of Georgia, a member of the United National Movement, Tina Bokuchava, stated that minors in Poti were shown a documentary film which contained violence. The person who authored this idea was later appointed as governor.FactCheck
took interest in the MP’s statement and verified its accuracy.
In March 2015, All Generations for Georgia, a non-governmental organisation, held a screening of a documentary film in Poti, Zugdidi and Khobi. The film was about the nine-year rule of the United National Movement and contained scenes of explicit violence. Schoolchildren later clarified that they were lured to attend a cultural event but instead of that they had to watch the aforementioned documentary film. Some of the pupils said that they were brought to the screening by the teacher of their school. Some of them also named the head of the municipality as the person who organised their attendance.
The screening was also attended by representatives of the local self-government and teachers who clarified that no one was forced to attend. Members of the local Educational Resource Centre claimed that they had not been informed about the screening of the documentary film on the nine-year rule of the United National Movement and, therefore, could not have been involved in the participation of the schoolchildren. The Director of All Generations for Georgia, Gia Salukvadze, asserted that it was not the NGO’s aim to show the film to children. Mr Salukvadze also categorically refused the connection between him, local educational establishments and the Educational Resource Centres in Poti, Zugdidi and Khobi.
Georgian NGOs expressed their concern about the fact that children had attended the screening of the documentary film which contained scenes of explicit violence and called for the Government of Georgia to protect the rights of children. The Parliamentary Opposition declared that it was unjustified to show minors a film which contained scenes of violence. The fact was also condemned by the representative of the Parliamentary Majority and Deputy Chairman of the Committee for Education, Science and Culture of the Parliament of Georgia, Eliso Chapidze.
The Georgian Dream political party released a statement regarding the fact of the schoolchildren’s attendance at the film screening and expressed its concern. Additionally, the party appealed to relevant state organs to investigate the fact and take respective measures against those individuals who were responsible for the event. The Ministry of Education and Science also commented upon the issue and claimed that showing the documentary to minors constituted a blatant violation of children’s rights. Pursuant to the decree of the Minister of Education and Science, Tamar Sanikidze, the Internal Audit Department of the Ministry of Education and Science launched an inspection of the Educational Resource Centres in Zugdidi, Poti and Khobi and all the schools under their responsibility.
The Vice Prime Minister of Georgia, Kakha Kaladze, also assessed the issue of the attendance of children at the film screening. Mr Kaladze stated that: "As a parent, I oppose taking children to see a film which depicts the bloody regime of the United National Movement. However, each and every part of the film is real. That is how the population of our country was treated. Everybody should know about that." The Prime Minister of Georgia, Irakli Gharibashvili, went even further in his assessment. On the one hand, the Prime Minister condemned the issue of the attendance of schoolchildren at the film screening but, on the other hand, stated that the event was a provocation staged by the United National Movement. Mr Gharibashvili said: "Supporters of the Free Zone, children, youngsters and pupils were gathered in Poti and purposefully taken to the film screening. Then, the emphasis was made upon the fact that there were children in attendance during the film screening."On 14 May 2015, a member of the United National Movement, Sergo Ratiani, publicised the assessment of the Internal Audit Service of the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia. According to the assessment, the film, called Saakashvili’s Bloody Chronicles,
was attended by children only in Poti. Their attendance was organised by the Head of the Educational Resource Centre in Poti, Gocha Kiria, with the order coming from the Mayor of Poti. According to the assessment of the Internal Audit Service of the Ministry of Education and Science, the Law on General Education, together with the School Director Code of Ethics and the General Administrative Code, was violated. The decision of the Internal Audit Service of the Ministry of Education and Science called for a disciplinary punishment to be applied against Gocha Kiria with 11 schools in Poti being warned about the violation of the law.
Of particular note is that no one in Zugdidi, Khobi or Poti has been dismissed from their jobs because of the incident. On 11 May 2015, the Director of All Generations for Georgia, Gia Salukvadze, was appointed as the Governor of Guria.
Conclusion In March 2015, All Generations for Georgia, a non-governmental organisation, organised a screening of the documentary film, Saakashvili’s Bloody Chronicles,
in Poti, Zugdidi and Khobi. The film contained scenes of violence. The screening was attended by pupils of Poti, Zugdidi and Khobi public schools who were brought to the event by local self-governments and the Educational Resource Centres in each of the locations. The Government of Georgia condemned the fact and called it a provocation. On 11 May 2015, the Director of All Generations for Georgia, Gia Salukvadze, was appointed as the Governor of Guria.FactCheck concludes that MP Tina Bokuchava’s statement is TRUE.