Georgy Kalatozishvili, Tbilisi. Exclusively to Vestnik Kavkaza
In Tbilisi a big protest against ID-cards took place near the Justice House. The protest was organized by “the Orthodox Council” whose leaders state that cards “contain the Number of the Beast and the Antichrist’s mark.”
The Ministry of Justice, Tea Tsulukiani, officially addressed the Holy Synod of Georgian Orthodox Church to “consider the question on presence of the devil’s mark on new IDs.” After a long heavy discussion, the Synod concluded that new IDs “didn’t contain the Antichrist’s mark or the Number of the Beast”, but recommended the authorities “to let citizens whose religious feelings don’t allow getting such cards use old passports without electronic media.”
A new problem occurred and led to new protests. To equalize old and new IDs, a special parliamentary act should be adopted, while today this task is quite difficult: disputes over ID cards can lead to a clash in the ruling coalition as at least two subjects of the coalition (the Republicans and Free Democrats) can stand against “religious hysteria” and support the pro-presidential party United National Movement, which would lead to a strict reaction.
But the problem has to be solved because it seems participants of protests near the Justice House are ready for everything to make the authorities back down. Many of them held banners in hands: “Better death than ID cards”, “To protect Orthodoxy”, “Don’t ruin Georgia!” and so on. According to them, the ID cards are a first step toward “enthronement of Antichrist in the world under the mask of international unity.”
After April 2012 when Vestnik Kavkaza wrote about this phenomenon for the first time, 70,000 signatures against electronic IDs were gathered in Tbilisi. Today the process of collecting signatures continues in the regions. Probably the number of signatures will soon reach 250 thousand and initiators will gain a right to address the CEC to hold a referendum on ID cards.
Soon protests near the Justice House will be permanent: activists of “the Orthodox Council” will build a camp there and begin protesting everyday. At the moment the Ministry of Justice has produced a video which informs people about new IDs. “The electronic media contains only name, surname, address of the owner and the combination of three 6 in a row is absolutely impossible on it,” the video says. There will be no ID cards No 666, right after 665 there will be 667. But is there a guarantee that the Orthodox believers won’t find it “a secretion of the Beast between figures”?