Georgian Lessons: Russian Propaganda and How to Defeat It
Please join the Harriman Institute and The Delacorte Center for Magazine Journalism for a conversation with Nika Gvaramia. Moderated by Keith Gessen.
Nika Gvaramia is a founder of Georgia’s primary opposition television network, Mtavari Arkhi, and is a leading voice against the influence of Vladimir Putin’s propaganda machine across the Caucasus. He will be joining us for this event just before the major award ceremony and gala dinner in New York on November 16 to receive the International Press Freedom Award from the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), recognizing his contributions to promote press freedom, freedom of expression and democratic ideals in Georgia.
Gvaramia’s fight for press freedoms in Georgia landed him in prison with a 3.5-year sentence orchestrated by Moscow-leaning supporters of Georgia’s ruling political party. The European Parliament and U.S. Helsinki Commission along with CPJ and other human rights and press freedom organizations denounced his imprisonment. After international calls and CPJ’s visit to the prison site where Gvaramia was being held in June, the Georgian president pardoned him. Gvaramia says that his new mission is to counter Russian influence in Georgia and across the Caucasus and oppose Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.
Nika Gvaramia is the founder and director of independent broadcaster, Mtavari Arkhi (Main Channel), founded in 2019. Gvaramia, who has worked in journalism since 2012, previously held government positions and served on the legal team representing opposition leader and former President Mikheil Saakashvili. As a TV presenter, Gvaramia was known for his sharp criticism of the ruling Georgian Dream party. His show often featured investigations exposing alleged government corruption and abuses and covered allegations of Georgian authorities’ pro-Russian bias. He served more than a year of a 3.5-year sentence for alleged abuse of office before receiving a presidential pardon in June 2023. Gvaramia denied the charges, which were widely denounced as politically motivated. Gvaramia is the only journalist in Georgia to receive a prison sentence in retaliation for their work since CPJ started keeping record of jailed journalists in 1992. Gvaramia holds a law degree from Emory University and, following the Rose Revolution but before the current political party came to power, he served in various governmental positions, including as minister of justice and education minister.
Image: Mtavari Arkhi