Levan Vasadze with his followers threatening to set up vigilante patrols against LGBT activists in Vere Park in Tbilisi, 2019. (1tv.ge)

TBILISI, DFWatch–After years of denying his intention to go into politics, the conservative millionaire Levan Vasadze finally announced on Thursday that he is launching a public movement.

“I’ve made a very difficult decision in my personal life to say goodbye to my favorite status as a private person, and wade into and participate in the socio-political life of the country. The main reason for my decision was the fact that the country is in a state of permanent crisis, both politically, economically, culturally, socially and ideologically,” Levan Vasadze said.

Vasadze has gained notoriety with his radical stance toward the LGBT community. In June 2019, he vowed to set up vigilante patrols on the streets of Tbilisi to prevent LGBT rights activists from holding a planned pride march. However, the vigilante groups never materialized.

Earlier, in December, 2015, he proposed to create a commission to prevent media and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from insulting the country’s traditional values. He then proposed setting up a civic commission to control media outlets and NGOs ‘financed from abroad.’