GRASS Disinfo Brief: August Edition

31 August, 2023

According to GD and Russian officials, protests against the Russian cruise ship in Batumi were organized by the UNM

  • US Ambassador Kelly Degnan commented on the protests in Batumi and stated that the Georgian people are making it very clear that no one should expect a warm welcome for people from a country that occupies 20% of Georgian territory. The chairman of the Georgian Dream responded to Ambassador Degnan’s remarks by stating that it is not the Ambassador’s job to speak on behalf of the Georgian people and that the vast majority of the public has a different opinion about the protests. Kobakhidze underlined that while Ambassador Degnan called for the arrest of violent groups that disrupted the Pride Fest on July 8th, she made no similar comments about the “violent demonstrations” that took place in March against the foreign agent’s law and the rally that was held in Batumi. According to Kobakhidze, in a way, the rally in Batumi was also violent. He also added that a rally held by 150 UNM members should not be regarded as a protest of the Georgian people.
  • Chairman of the Parliament, Shalva Papuashvili, also made similar remarks in connection to the US Ambassador’s comments, arguing that the US Ambassador’s statement was manipulative because the Batumi protests were not an expression of the Georgian people’s position but a demonstration organized by the UNM. According to him, ambassadors should not talk on behalf of the Georgian people. In addition, the Chairman argued that such statements from the Ambassador encourage violence, including violence against the police.
  • “People’s Party” MP Guram Matcharashvili called the Batumi rally participants “active members and supporters of Prigozhin’s party”, stating that millions of Russian tourists visit different countries without any problems, including the US.
  • The spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, Maria Zakharova, made remarks about the protests in Batumi and stated that the majority of Georgian citizens do not support ordered provocations against Russia, which the radical Georgian opposition organizes at the request of Western sponsors.
  • Chairman of the International Affairs Committee of the Council of the Russian Federation, Grigory Karasin, responded to the rally against the cruise ship in Batumi. According to him, the protesters were "activists of Saakashvili's party”, and the germ of hatred for Russia and Russians that Saakashvili introduced is alive and well. Karasin hinted that Saakashvili’s shouting supporters did not achieve anything with their protests and that it is clear who is against peaceful relations between Georgia and Russia.

2008 August war renews debates about the start of the conflict. GD continues to blame Saakashvili and his government for not preventing the war, surrendering territories

  • At the war anniversary ceremony, Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili emphasized that the 2008 August war was preventable. However, due to Saakashvili's irresponsibilities, the war greatly damaged Georgia. According to him, while Georgian soldiers were showing courage and bravery on the frontlines, Saakashvili, scared by airplane sounds, was seen cowardly running and falling on the floor for the whole world to see. PM stated that the previous government was not interested in the fallen heroes or the lost territories and only cared about its own interests and committed treason. He added that everyone knows that Russia is an occupier and an aggressor. However, peace has no alternative, and it’s the ruling party’s priority to retrieve the occupied territories with pragmatic, smart policies. The PM referred to UNM as “a party of war and treason” and said that he has more information than the public about the war but refrains from publicizing it to protect Georgia’s interests.
  • Chairman of the Georgian Dream, Irakli Kobakhidze, made similar statements, calling the previous UNM government treasonous. According to him, the Georgian governments' treason led to the war and occupation of Georgian territories. Kobakhidze also emphasized that the culmination of the treason was the signing of the resolution published by the Council of Europe, which stated that Saakashvili’s government escalated the conflict into a large-scale war, basically accusing the Georgian soldiers of committing war crimes. According to Kobakhidze, this is the highest level of treason.
  • Gia Volski, First Deputy Chairman of the Parliament, stated that while the UNM members accuse the current ruling party of many different absurd things, while they are the ones that could not prevent the war. Additionally, according to him, Saakashvili’s government was convincing the Georgian people that the Russian Federation was not directly involved in the conflict, which cost the lives of tens of people. Saakashvili left the soldiers on the frontline and decided to hold a spectacle on Rustaveli Avenue.
  • A pro-Russian political party, “European Socialists”, once again called for the creation of an investigation committee for the 2008 August war. According to Pridon Injia, leader of the party, Saakashvili is a US agent that led the US-sponsored coup in 2003 and was completing orders directed from Washington, including – establishing an authoritarian regime, imprisoning and torturing people, racketeering businesses, selling strategic infrastructure, etc. Injia underlined that Saakashvili provoked the 2008 war with an order from the US to damage Russia’s economy and international image, which also strained EU-Russia relations. European Socialists claim that US officials, European Parliament members, governments of Ukraine and Moldova, Georgian opposition parties and non-governmental organizations are coordinating to release Saakashvili from prison, and all of this is connected to him being a US agent.

Despite the tragedy in Shovi, disinformation stays prevalent

In the middle of a sunny day on August 3rd, a small resort village, Shovi, filled with vacationers, was hit by a landslide, killing 31, while two are still considered missing as of August 31st. The tragedy sparked controversy. Some experts pointed out the late response of the authorities and the lack of technical equipment. The rescue operations were also hindered because the helicopter was not appropriate for such rescue operations, which opened old wounds from last year when a rescue helicopter fell during a rescue operation, killing all 7 on board. While the country mourned the loss of life, disinformation narratives still remained active:

  • One particular social media profile launched a campaign, spreading false quotes from the members of the ruling party. In one post, the source claims that the Chairman of GD, Irakli Kobakhidze, stated that “the corpses do not rot within days, so it is not necessary to send helicopters immediately”. In another post, the same social media profile spread another false quote from Kobakhidze – “I’m glad we did not find more corpses, we reacted very fast, we saved people’s lives, which is most important to us”. In another post, it is alleged that Kobakhidze was in a jacuzzi when he heard about the tragedy and thought that only 2 or 3 people died as a result, which according to the fake quote, is not that many. Additionally, a fake quote from Kobakhidze reads that “this was a sacrifice to god”, talking about the victims.
  • The same social media profile spread false quotes from Kakha Kaladzes name, Tbilisi mayor and one of the leaders of GD. Kaladze’s family was also vacationing in Shovi on the day of the tragedy, but fortunately, they left earlier that day, although there was disinformation that the Tbilisi mayor was notified about the landslide beforehand and was able to evacuate his family with a helicopter. A fake quote reads – “I evacuated my family from the disaster area, I do not know about anyone else, I am the mayor, I do not know anything about rescue operations, I have to take care of my business”. Another fake quote from Kaladze states, “I was running when I saw an 18-year-old girl get taken by the landslide, but I was running I could not do anything”. There was a post that alleged that Kaladze announced the building of new cottages and hotels in the disaster area for 2024. “On the other hand, it was fun because I like extreme situations, when the landslide came and I was running, it was fun”, reads another false quote.
  • The same social media profile posted an old video depicting GD members singing while having a feast. The old video was meant to demonstrate that GD members are careless and indifferent towards the tragedy. The same author spread disinformation about how the PM left the disaster region without seeing the locals or the injured. Another post from the same profile spread a false quote from the PM – “People die during disasters it is normal, may god bless them”.

US Ambassador Kelly Degnan’s departing interview sparks criticism from GD and attacks from pro-Russian sources

Radio Liberty released an interview with departing US Ambassador Kelly Degnan on August 21st. The Ambassador discussed many issues during the interview, including the election processes in Georgia. The Ambassador remarked that the electronic voting system that will be in place for the 2024 Parliamentary elections is not the sole guarantee of fair elections. According to her, there is still room for manipulation if the voters do not understand how the electronic system works. Therefore, voter awareness should be raised in this regard. Additionally, the Ambassador stated that long-term election observation missions would be necessary for the upcoming elections because numerous violations, such as voter coercion and bribery, can take place months before election day. The Ambassador also stated that the US has been present in Georgia for thirty years and that there are no plans to leave until the people of Georgia aspire to a democratic future.

  • MP from GD, Irakli Zarkua, made a statement directly addressing the Ambassador. According to Zarkua, the Ambassador did not understand her mission, and rather than ensuring the further development of US-Georgian strategic relations, she acted as a local party representative. Zarkua went as far as calling the Ambassador harmful, emphasizing that the she increased the polarization in the Georgian society with her activities and statements and that she was probably one of the creators of the revolutionary waves which GD suppressed because it was never in the interests of the Georgian people to create unrest and open a second front. GD member concluded his remarks by saying that although he wished he could say good farewell words to the departing Ambassador, it was impossible to do so, ending his statement with a sarcastic “Goodbye, my darling!”
  • GD MP Rati Ionatamishvili also criticized the Ambassador's statements, saying that there is no room for speculation, and anyone who tries to discredit electronic elections is obliged to provide at least one fact. He added that he had a very positive attitude towards Ambassador Degnan in the beginning, however, as MP underlined she will not be among the ambassadors with whom he will continue to be friends with.
  • Another MP from GD, Irakli Kadagishvili, stated that the Ambassador's comments resembled a statement made by a political party rather than an Ambassador. The GD member assessed the Ambassador's statement as a push, an indication that the election process should be conducted in a revolutionary scenario. Kadagishvili emphasized that there are many speculations that the elections are being rigged, but it is never followed up with facts. Election observers supported the electronic voting system, although now an orchestrated attack is being prepared to convince the public that the elections are going to be rigged and to spark revolutionary waves.
  • ”People Power” movement Member Davit Kartvelishvili stated that the Ambassador openly admitted that the 2024 Parliamentary elections are going to be declared as rigged because the opposition parties have no chance of victory and are already preparing an alternative plan to gain power. According to him, a deliberate campaign is launched to discredit the electronic voting system. Kartvelishvili argued that the long-term election observation mission will be filled with people who have experience in conducting “colour revolutions and Maidan-like scenarios”. The observers will be coordinated by the incoming US ambassador and her deputy. Kartvelishvili basically accused the US and election observation missions of planning to overthrow the government, which according to him, would result in bloodshed.
  • Pro-government social media account wrote that if the electronic voting system is not good enough, that means that the elections could also be rigged in the US, emphasizing that the Georgian electronic system is much safer compared to the US since the Georgian voting machines will not be connected to the internet, leaving no space for outside meddling. According to the post, the Ambassador is upset because the electronic voting system makes exit polls and parallel counting of votes irrelevant, which were previously used deliberately to create a revolutionary wave.
  • A pro-Russian social media profile called the Ambassador immoral and arrogant for stating that the US is not planning to leave Georgia. According to the post, this once again confirmed that Georgia is regarded as a colony in the US. Another social media post was widely shared by pro-Russian sources, which stated that Ambassador Degnan tried to fight against the Georgian church and attempted to discredit Georgian culture.

GD and Peoples Power utilize Trump’s indictment as an argument against ISFED and the non-governmental sector

  • The Chairman of the Parliament, Shalva Papuashvili, stated that in 2020, there were mass speculations that the Parliamentary elections were rigged by the radical opposition, who were supported by foreign partners. According to the Chairman, ISFED, whose main donor is USAID, was one of the heads of this campaign with an outlined goal to trigger hostility in society, create distrust and undermine the certitude in the electoral administration – Papuashvili emphasized that the exact situation occurred in the US after the 2020 Presidential elections, for which Donald Trump has been indicted. After the 2020 elections in Georgia, ISFED announced that there was a discrepancy between the parallel counting of votes and official results. After 40 days, ISFED issued a statement saying there was a mistake made during the parallel counting of votes, and the Director of ISFED resigned as a result, but Papuashvili still expressed disappointment about how the donors continue to fund ISFED and stated that USAID knew three weeks in advance about the error, when there were demonstrations about alleged election-rigging, but did not even issue a statement.
  • MP from GD, Irakli Zarkua, argued that NGOs and the opposition tried to stir up the situation in the country after the elections. While Donald Trump is being indicted for the same reason in the US, no one has been punished in Georgia for similar acts, and the US continues to fund Georgian NGOs, including ISFED. According to Zarkua, ISFED did not make a mistake but deliberately showed a discrepancy between parallel-counted votes and the official results to exacerbate the situation in the country.
  • Tbilisi mayor and one of the main figures of GD, Kakha Kaladze, alleged that before GD leaders exposed ISFEDs “rigged parallel counting votes”, there were attempts to hide it, and even after they were exposed, no serious steps followed, and donors continued to finance Georgian NGOs. According to Kaladze, there are many questions about ISFED’s funding and who was behind the parallel counting votes because all of it was planned to stir up the country. Kaladze underlined that ISFED's rigged results and Saakashvili's clandestine entry into the country were planned to overthrow the government, sew civil confrontation and exacerbate the political situation in the country.
  • Peoples Power Movement issued a written statement about Trump's indictment, arguing that according to American standards, "the entire Georgian opposition, every director of rich NGOs, and heads of oppositional TV channels should be arrested". Although the statement refrains from calling for the arrest of US Ambassador Kelly Degnan and the former EU Ambassador Carl Hartzell, it blames them for lying to the Georgian people and spreading the radical opposition's false accusations about the election-rigging. The statement calls Trump's indictment absurd as the former President only questioned the election results, which is not enough to prosecute a person. As for Georgia, the statement reads that there are grounds to indict "radicals" for trying to sabotage the parliament and undermine the government.

Pro-Russian propaganda paints Russia as Georgia’s savior, pushes for closer ties with Moscow

  • Pro-Russian Sezoni TV anchor asserted that Russia wishes to return occupied territories because Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that he wants to see Georgians, Abkhazians and Ossetians living in one country. According to the propagandist, the actions of Georgians stops Moscow from returning occupied territories. He also wished for the American occupation of Georgia to end, as it ended in Burkina Faso and Niger, where Russian flags were being waved during the coups. The same propagandist caused outrage on social media when he said that a Russian warship, instead of a cruise ship, should enter Batumi instead of a cruise ship if Georgia wants to retain the Adjara region. Adjara would never be a part of Georgia without the Russians, and it will be lost in the future without them.
  • A frequent guest on Sezoni TV and pro-Russian propagandist stressed the importance of strong diplomatic relations with Russia. Otherwise, as he claimed, there is no chance of Georgia regaining control over the occupied territories. He continued saying that if the situation were to come to a military conflict with Russia, Georgia would be destroyed, which means that the only way to proceed in the future is to have close ties with Moscow. According to him, the US and its allies are “gay charlatans” with crumbling democracies and have no will or power to do anything for Georgia. In a different broadcast, the same propagandist claimed that the people are being lied about Russia weakening. Moreover, it is the Ukrainians that are weakening, and the people should not fall for the lies of “Saakashvili’s generals”.
  • On Pro-Russian TV Channel, one of the propagandists insisted that if Russia were to give up the Caucasus region, Georgia would disappear in an hour. Another propagandist added that without Russia, Georgia as a state would not survive and the restoration of good relations is needed. He also stated that the war in Ukraine provides an opportunity for Georgia to negotiate about de-occupation of territories. the Georgian government should state that it refuses to join NATO and the EU. In a separate broadcast, a different propagandist underlined Russia’s strength and how it could retain success despite being challenged by tens of other powerful countries.
  • An editor of the pro-Russian online website “Saqinform” wrote that if Georgia were to have close relations with Moscow, as it did during the Soviet Union, Russia would provide meteorological, seismic and other types of data that could predict the landslide in Shovi, Racha. Because Russian equipment is unavailable, Georgia is forced to purchase it from Western countries but is unable to do so due to high expenses.
  • Another pro-Russian website, “Newsfront”, published an article stating that if the Georgian government asked Russia for help during the Shovi tragedy, it would provide massive assistance because the Kremlin understands the political message of such acts. If the Georgian government were rational, it would allow Moscow to help, which would show the Georgian people Russia’s true intentions and willingness to help.
  • Pro-Russian social media sources continued to be active. One of the prominent pro-Russian propagandists posted that only a Russian boot can defeat Georgia’s internal and external enemies. Another propagandist stated that without close ties with Russia, Georgia will become a liberal, atheist country filled with treasonous drug addicts. According to him, if preventive measures are not taken now, the country will get destroyed in the future. A different pro-Russian social media account went on a long tirade about how artificial anti-Russian sentiments should be challenged because if it succeeds, Georgia will disappear from the map. External and internal enemies are difficult to handle and can only be countered with Russia’s power.
  • Pro-Russian website “GeWorld” published an article titled “Georgia needs a strong saviour, Russia, and not gay “partner” USA”. The article argues that an orthodox Christian country, Russia, is fighting against a global LGBT, pseudo-democratic, Satanist power called the collective West, with the US as its leader. The article credits Georgia’s PM for refusing to join the sanctions against Russia and declining the Ukrainian’s request to open a second front against Russia. The article stipulates that the opening of a second front and the LGBT agenda are the existential threats facing Georgia, as they have the potential to physically or spiritually destroy Georgia and its identity.
  • Kremlin-sponsored website “Sputnik” published an article by a Russian author, who argues that the global South and East see Russia as a chance to create a new, stable, and fair world, where every country’s interests will be protected. The article assesses the West’s aid to Ukraine in its fight against Russian aggression as an attempt to retain past hegemony and the fear of extinction. The West is going all in against Russia and BRICS but only has war, degradation, and political-economic dictatorship to offer, while the truth, justice and willpower are on Russia’s side.
  • A prominent pro-Russian propagandist claimed that throughout its existence, Georgia did not have well-wishing counties around its borders, and Russia is the only exception – a country that is also orthodox Christian, which always had strong ties with the Georgian people, saved Georgia from physical destruction and did everything to develop it. According to the author, the fact that the Georgian people call Russia the enemy is only fault of the US.
  • A social media profile which systematically spreads pro-Russian disinformation posted about how Russia is the only country to defeat “liberal-satanist” powers, not only because of its military and industrial prowess but because it is based on traditional, conservative, god-oriented values.

Propaganda claims that the West is responsible for tragedy in Shovi, protests in Batumi

  • A pro-Russian Alt Info propagandist stated that they oppose the ruling party, although when positive steps are taken it by the government, it should be supported. Simultaneously, if the government does something that deserves disapproval, it should be opposed with every method, including violence. Another propagandist underlined that the participants of the protest in Batumi were only UNM members and did not express the will of the Georgian people. The propagandist claimed that the protests were funded by foreign intelligence services and aimed to undermine the peace in Georgia. Additionally, the protests were staged to overcloud the Prime Minister’s fruitful visit to China.
  • A propagandist on Alt Info blamed the previous government and Saakashvili for the tragedy in Shovi, stating that it was during Saakashvili’s rule that the majority infrastructure was built in the landslide-prone area.
  • Sezoni TV anchor argued that in Belarus, if an individual goes to Ukraine to fight against the Russians, they are unable to return to their homeland, and according to him, the same laws should apply in Georgia because the war in Ukraine is not Georgia’s war, and when Georgians go to fight in Ukraine they damage the country.
  • The pro-Russian propaganda website “Saqinform” editor wrote an article where he spread disinformation about how the Georgian government was pressured by the US, the EU and Ukraine to open a second front against Russia immediately after the war started.
  • A social media profile spread disinformation about how a Maidan scenario is being prepared in Georgia by UNM members and Ukrainians. He also posted that Turkish intelligence agencies are interested in further damaging Georgian-Russian relations, implying that they had something to do with the protests in Batumi. Another social media propagandist responded to the Batumi protests by stating that Turkey not only occupied but annexed historic Georgian territories, attempting to shift the blame for the occupation from Russia to Turkey. A different social media user conspired that the Turkish tourist sector lacks Russian tourists and is attempting to undermine its neighbor countries to attract more tourists from Russia, implying that Turkish businesses paid the protesters to stage the demonstration to scare Russian tourists away from Georgia into Turkey.
  • A social media propagandist blamed the West and the “neo-liberal order” for the tragedy in Shovi, Racha, emphasizing that after the collapse of the Soviet Union, with the demand from the West, scientific facilities were replaced by non-governmental organizations. According to the post author, the West deliberately undermined scientific research facilities and factories. Another social media profile blamed the US for the tragedy in Shovi, stating that every institution in service of the Georgian people’s interests, including geological institutions, was destroyed by US colonization.

Propaganda blames US for Georgia’s misfortunes, attempts to undermine the current government. Attacks on US ambassador Kelly Degnan continue

  • Pro-Russian Sezoni TV channel guest, Dito Chubinidze, determined that the US is a crumbling empire and has every indication of crisis, including the fact that the US sent 100-year-old Henry Kissinger to China for negotiations. In the same broadcast, he accused the US of mobilizing the “gay agent network” in Georgia to act against Georgia’s national interests. According to him, the Americans assassinated the first President of Georgia, Zviad Gamsakhurdia, encouraged President Shevardnadze to start a war in Abkhazia, and gave the blessing to Saakashvili to start a war in 2008. Additionally, the US embassy was financially and politically feeding Saakashvili’s regime, which was repressing the Georgian people. The propagandist also underlined that the US embassy in Georgia has the most significant representation compared to US embassies in other countries.
  • Nikoloz Mzhavanadze, an anchor of the pro-Russian Sezoni TV Channel, stated that Tao-Klarjeti is not part of Georgia because of the US. Tao-Klarjeti is a region south of Adjara which was once part of Georgia and is currently Turkish sovereign territory.
  • Pro-Russian propagandist that often appears on Sezoni TV accused the US of attempting to undermine the current government and replace it with a far worse one, which will be a direct enemy of the Georgian people.
  • Alt Info propagandists argued that Georgia was deceived by the West when it chose a pro-Western course. In reality, the West is filled with sodomism and depravity, and it offers Georgia two choices – either Georgia accepts sodomism and depravity, or it dies. Another Alt Info propagandist alleged that the West has never helped Georgia socially or materially. The only thing Georgia has gained from the West is foreign debt. According to him, there are no factories, farms or industries that the West helped develop in Georgia and the money received from foreign debt was spent only on NGOs. The propagandist also added that the US and other globalists view Georgia as cannon fodder like they viewed Ukraine. Another propagandist on Alt Info blamed the US for attempting to escalate the situation and drag Georgia into the war against Russia. The propagandist added that if Georgia does get dragged into the war by the US, the country will get destroyed, and the West will not do anything about it.
  • Kremlin-sponsored source Sputnik propagated that the US plans to move its finances from Kyiv to Taipei, leaving Ukraine completely alone for Russia to destroy. The initial US plan was to use Ukraine to destroy Russia, but the plan failed, and the Americans are trying to retreat. The Russian source also wrote that the Western hopes of Ukrainian victory are diminished because its military-industrial complex failed, and now the path to demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine is clearer.
  • The pro-Russian website “Saqinform” editor published an article where he presented a conspiracy theory about US Ambassador Kelly Degnan’s work. According to the article, Ambassador Degnan aimed to integrate Georgia into the Associated Trio, along with Ukraine and Moldova, but she could not accomplish this because Georgia refused to join the war against Russia, and the trio was dismantled. The author alleges that Degnan, furious because of “Caucasian stubbornness”, asked Washington to extend her term to correct her mistakes. These efforts included financing the opposition and attempting to provoke a revolution to overthrow the current government. If Ambassador Degnan were to be successful, a coalition government would be established, led by Saakashvili, who would open a second front against Russia.
  • A pro-Russian propagandist published an article about how Georgia’s PM, Irakli Gharibashvili, saved Georgia from being dragged into the war against Russia. The article claims that the US, with its diplomatic representation and “fifth column”, meaning opposition parties and media representatives, plans to destabilize the country and overthrow the government. The author, without any proof, states it as a fact that the US is planning to do something similar in autumn.
  • A guest on pro-Russian Alt Info broadcast spread Russian conspiracy theory narratives about the Lugar Research Center, which was established in Georgia with the support of the US for scientific biomedical and biosafety research. According to the propagandist, many diseases are spread from the Lugar facility, which negatively impacts the Georgian people’s health. The experiments conducted in the facility also poison Georgia's vegetation, soil and water.
  • A prominent pro-Russian propagandist on social media underlined that the justice system in Georgia is under US control and is attempting to sabotage the Georgian government. According to the post, the courts and the prosecutor’s office are doing everything to make sure that GD does not win in the 2024 Parliamentary elections. The propagandist claims that people are being arrested in excess, and the prison conditions are very harsh, which is being done deliberately to undermine the government.
  • Editor of a pro-Russian propaganda news source wrote an article where he blamed the US and Ukraine for trying to reprise the events of August 2008. Washington, Brussels and Kyiv failed to coerce Georgia into opening a second front and have since softened rhetoric towards the Georgian government. The propagandist accused the US Ambassador Kelly Degnan of making provocative calls about how Georgia should retrieve its occupied territories by force. In a different article, he criticized the ambassador, once again accusing her of single-handedly attempting to meddle in Georgian affairs, namely by supporting the LGBT community and disapproving the trade relations between Georgia and Russia. According to the propagandist, thanks to the US ambassador, a heterosexual, patriot, orthodox Georgian is regarded as pro-Russian, while gay, atheist traitors are regarded as pro-Western, which makes it clear that Georgia’s true path is linked to Russia.
  • A social media user wrote that the along with Russia, the US, the West, Turkey, Iran, Azerbaijan and Armenia are also occupiers. Another social media user blamed the US for the tragedy that occurred in Shovi on August 3rd, stating that everything that is happening after the dissolution of the Soviet Union that is the fault of the US.

Amid the 2008 August war anniversary, propaganda accuses the West, as well as Georgian and Ukrainian governments for provoking Russia’s aggression. Western integration portrayed as contradictory to Georgia’s interests

  • A propagandist that repeatedly spreads disinformation and pro-Russian propaganda claimed that the West initiated the conflict between Georgia and Russia in 2008 and has done the same in the context of Ukraine, adding that they are attempting to drag Georgia into the current war.
  • A prominent Alt Info propagandist blamed Saakashvili’s poor judgement for the 2008 August war and added that the West instructed the Georgian government to escalate a conflict with Russia to further sow Russophobia in Georgia. Additionally, the propagandist asserted that the West is attempting to bring back UNM in the government, which will open a second front with Russia within months, evident from the Batumi protests as well.
  • The same propagandist argued that Russia is against NATO expansion and will not allow Georgia to become a member of NATO. Georgia’s NATO ambitions will only cause trouble, and even if Georgia becomes a member of the organization, nothing will change because Russian military bases will remain in the occupied territories. In addition to Russian military bases, according to the propagandist, Turkish military bases will appear in the country, which will mean that Georgians will lose their homeland.
  • Another Alt Info propagandist also blamed Saakashvili and his government for the 2008 August war, removing Russia’s responsibility from the war. A frequent guest on Alt Info also commented on the 2008 August war and stated that although nothing was stopping Russia, the Kremlin still did not intend to capture Tbilisi, overlooking the attempts of the West to negotiate a ceasefire and stop Russian advances.
  • Another propagandist that appeared on Alt Info blamed the West for escalating the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, as well as Russia and Georgia. According to him, the collective West provoked both wars to strain relations between the countries forever.

Propaganda on Russia’s war in Ukraine paints Russia as the victim, justifies Russian aggression. Attempts to discredit Ukraine’s liberation efforts continue

  • Pro-Russian channel Alt Info propagandist propagated that the Ukrainians chose to become the enemies of Russia, which in turn caused war. Ukraine started to state its aim of joining NATO, forcing Russia to act. Russia would never attack Ukraine if it stayed loyal to Moscow. Another propagandist claimed that Russia has the right to occupy eastern Ukraine because there are a lot of ethnic Russians and Russian speakers in that region. Disinformation says that the Ukrainians often attacked Russian speakers, which prompted Moscow to act.
  • In a different instance, a propagandist on Alt Info stated that Ukraine’s counter-offensive is suicidal as Russia’s positions have improved on the front line in the last two months. According to him, 30% of reserves and weapons were lost during the counter-offensive, but the results are tragic for Ukraine.
  • Pro-Russian propagandists argued that the war in Ukraine is a civil war between separatists on Russian historic lands which aims to weaken Russia and is funded by “Anglo-Saxons”. According to him, “Anglo-Saxons” know that Ukrainians are bound to be defeated, but want to prolong the war to diminish Russia.
  • Pro-Russian Alt Info broadcaster assessed the war in Ukraine as another geopolitical project of the US, the aim of which is to entrench US hegemony. The broadcaster stated that the US uses different methods to strengthen its hegemony and recalls Vladimir Putin’s statements about how the US established bio-laboratories in post-Soviet countries to create biological weapons to use against Russia.
  • Another propagandist emphasized that when the world finds out about the true nature of Ukraine’s government, everyone will condemn them, but it will be too late and will not bring back deceased Ukrainian children. A different propagandist stated that Russia itself is a victim of violence, terrorism, repression and revenge because everyone wants to capture Russia’s natural resources, and everyone who spreads anti-Putinist statements is serving evil.
  • Sezoni TV anchor spread disinformation about how Ukraine’s President Yanukovich refused to sign the association agreement with the EU because it envisaged the shutdown of heavy industries in Ukraine. He continued that the EU staged a coup and intended to use Crimea as a military platform against Russia, which prompted Moscow to annex Crimea and occupy Donets and Luhansk regions. According to him, it was the actions of Georgia that also caused the Russian occupation of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region. The propagandist compared Russian-occupied regions to the Cuban missile crisis, stating that the US did not allow the Soviet Union to deploy nuclear warheads near its borders, and Russia is currently doing the same.
  • Kremlin-sponsored “Sputnik” published an article by a Russian author, according to which the Russian military industry is stable and growing, in contrast to “parasite, banderites”, who are dependent on the West’s support. A different article on “Sputnik” argues that Washington planned to turn Ukraine into Russia’s Afghanistan to defeat and dismantle Russia, as it happened in the case of the USSR in the 1980s, but according to the article, everything points to the fact that the situation in Ukraine has backfired for the US, which is confirmed by the Russian army’s advances, corruption scandals in Ukraine and a change of pro-Ukrainian rhetoric in Western media.

Propaganda against the EU claims member countries are growing weaker, thus discrediting Georgia’s attempts to become a member

  • Prominent pro-Russian, anti-Western propagandist Beka Vardosanidze appeared as a guest on Alt Info, where he stated that the EU demands that Georgia give up its sovereignty and appoint current non-governmental organization staff members as the heads of the government, the courts, and the prosecutor’s office, after which Georgia’s membership in the EU would still be under question for years to come. In the same appearance, he claimed that Germany is in an economic recession while Russia’s economy has been able to overcome difficulties.
  • Pro-Russian Sezoni TV anchor asserted that Western dominance has come to an end in Africa, where French flags are being burnt. In contrast, EU flags are waving everywhere in Georgia, which according to him, is illogical since the West is losing its power and influence.
  • A propagandist posted on social media about how the Chinese warmly welcomed the Prime Minister of Georgia in contrast to Western countries that ignore Georgian values and traditions. According to him, the West is forcing Georgia to adopt laws that contradict its interests, while the visit in China demonstrates that the strategic partnership will put Georgia on the path to development.
  • Another propagandist posted a picture of the EU flag with a swastika in the middle, saying that Nazism was defeated in the 20th century, but has reappeared in the 21st century in the form of the EU.