On October 11-12, 2022, the Institute for the Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) in cooperation with the National Parliament Library of Georgia and Center of Regional Initiatives - “Bright Future” held a presentation on the issue of repressed people in Ozurgeti and Khoni and a screening of the film "Cemetery of the Shot in Batumi" shot by Radio Free Georgia/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL).
The meeting was held in the Center of Democratic involvement, in Ozurgeti and it was attended by the representatives of the local civic organisations. Head of the Center of Regional Initiatives - “Bright Future” Marika Vatcharadze addressed the audience and discussed with them the importance of the topic of repressed people.
Another meeting was held in the reading hall of the main library in Khoni. It was attended by high school students, local media, administrators of public schools, employees of historical museums and other interested parties.
During the presentation Anton Vatcharadze, the Memory and Disinformation Studies Direction Head of the Institute for the Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI), acquainted attendees with features of the Soviet times, phases of massive repressions, the fate of victims and drew attention to the specificity and significance of the discovery of mass graves. He discussed the history of the tombs discovered in Adjara, the work carried out together with the Eparchy of Batumi and Lazeti and the Institute of National Remembrance of Poland (IPN), steps taken, and future plans. He also pointed out the importance of raising pensions (which is currently 7 Laris) for repressed people.
The film "Cemetery of the Shot in Batumi" presented during the meetings tells how the graves of hundreds of people shot by the Soviet regime were found near Batumi, on the territory of the former Russian military base. One of the heroes of the story is 85-year-old Lamara Amiranashvili, whose father's remains (Gedevan Chkhaidze) may be among the last 29 remains found. Lamara Amiranashvili has already done the DNA profiling and hopes that her DNA material will be compared with the DNA of the remains of 29 people found.
At the end of the meetings, the attending public had the opportunity to ask interesting questions and express their opinion about the presentation topic.
The information meeting was held with the financial support of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency ( Sida).
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