Cops Discover Gay Spy Ring in Former Soviet Republic
Authorities in the country of Georgia claim they found a government-run network of gay spies who were instructed to develop relationships with local celebrities so they could gain information to blackmail them in order to "ensure their loyalty to the authorities," Russian Times reports.
According to prosecutors, Legis Kardava, the former head of the country's military police, ordered high-ranking officials in his agency to collect information on gay men, who were then selected as agents and instructed to seduce celebrities in order to gain access to their apartments. The spies had audio and video equipment and "secretly and illegally recorded fragments of private lives" of their victims. The recordings were used to blackmail the victims so they would cooperate with the secret police.
Investigators say officials behind the gay spy ring did not reveal victims' names, only that they were well-known in the secretive nation. The authorities allege that the goal of the network was to force these Georgian celebrities into showing their loyalty to the current political regime, which is lead by President Mikhail Saakashvili.
A member of the United National Movement, a center-right party, Saakashvilli has been involved in corruption and election scandals, although, by the brutal standards of the region, many observers (including the U.S. State Department) consider him relatively honest and enlightened. According to Wikipedia, one poll showed him favored by over two-thirds of the population.
The gay spy ring was in full operation until Saakashvili won the October elections, according to the story in Russia Times. .
Georgia, just south of Russia and boarded by the Black Sea, is one of the few countries in the region (probably the only one) that has any official legal protections for LGBT citizens, despite being highly conservative and dominated by the national Orthodox Christian church. So it's probably not surprising that 92 percent Georgians found homosexuality "completely unacceptable."