GRASS Disinfo Brief April 17-30

05 May, 2023

"Second Front" conspiracy and anti-US propaganda remains in the political mainstream discourse:

  • Georgian Dream affiliated groups held a demonstration in Tbilisi. The main motto of the demonstration was thanking the government for upholding peace in Georgia despite the pressure. The leaders of the demonstrations also claimed that the United National Movement and others wanted to organise a revolution. The Mayor of Tbilisi and the Secretary General of the ruling Georgian Dream party Kakha Kaladze endorsed the spirit of the demonstration, that according to him, was supportive of peace. Likewise, Speaker of the Parliament Shalva Paapuashvili endorsed the rally by claiming that the people gathered were full of the Georgian spirit, careful of the country’s national interests. The demonstrators demanded the following: to give a political and legal evaluation of the dictatorial regime of the "United National Movement" in 2004-2012 and to enforce it with appropriate legal mechanisms; implement a sovereign economic policy which will eliminate unemployment, low wages and poverty; the politicians of the European Union and other countries to respect the state sovereignty of Georgia; complete non-interference in domestic public political affairs; to introduce fundamental education in schools, and to stop the ideological processing of young people in educational institutions; implement effective state programme to address the demographic situation; to improve a number of issues related to drugs; to ban LGBT propaganda by law.
  • The Prime Minister of Georgia stated that in light of the current events in the region, there is no doubt that under the conditions of "the bloody, anti-national regime, Georgia would turn into a second fighting ground". He added that the key decisions of the Georgian Dream government ensured Georgia's survival from inevitable complete destruction.
  • Mdinaradze also stated that the opposition had the following plot: Georgia should not get the EU membership candidate status, which should lead to disorder and chaos, and the opposition will come to power in this situation, then if the war in Ukraine will not be over (as the opposition predicts), they will join the war and sacrifice Georgia for the sake of other's interests. He added that "we are obliged to ensure that the country does not enter into a war, that there is no chaos and that Georgia does not become a small pawn that is easily sacrificed".
  • It was claimed during Alt-Info's broadcast that the time will come when Georgian Dream leaders and Bidzina Ivanishvili will also be sanctioned by the West because it is a vital interest of the Western powers to engulf Georgia into the war with Russia so that they do not lose the WW3 they had already started against China.

The US decision of sanctioning Georgian judges remain in focus:

  • Chairman of "Georgian Dream," Irakli Kobakhidze, said that the Georgian side is still demanding evidence from the US on the four Georgian judges' cases [sanctioned by the US for corruption], but the United States Ambassador to Georgia, Kelly Degnan, "does not consider it worthy" for the Georgian people to submit evidence, which is, of course, categorically unacceptable" and "incorrect attitude towards Georgian society and Georgian government".
  • The statement issued by "People's Power" (part of the Georgian Dream-led parliamentary majority) states that the US ambassador labels judges as corrupt without any evidence, and she even does not consider Georgia a sovereign state. According to the statement, the purpose of the ambassador's actions and US sanctions is to ensure that Georgia does not fully regain its sovereignty, which will allow the "agency" to come to power. Furthermore, Kelly Degnan empathised that until the investigation is completed, she will not say anything about David Kezerashvili's robbery of European pensioners. For the People's Power, this statement means that the presumption of innocence is fully extended to Davit Kezerashvili, "who was not satisfied with robbing Georgian businessmen and the Georgian army".

Anti-Western and pro-Russian voices call for the change of Georgia's foreign policy course:

  • One of the leaders of the aforementioned demonstration Vato Shaqarishvili claimed that "we need to discuss what is the real security guarantee in the new world order - unrealistic plans and goals of joining any military alliance, or neutrality and non-alignment which might help us maintain peace, strengthen security and unify the country not by war and tanks as external forces are calling on us to do, but peace, development, progress and love of those brothers and sisters with respect to whom we have made mistakes in the past". (Chairman of the Parliament did not agree with this opinion and said that Georgia was unequivocally striving towards NATO, but said it was not correct to asses this statement as anti-Western, as well. He also claimed that Moldova officially declares neutrality but nobody calls this decision anti-Western.)
  • Members of the pro-Russian political party Conservative Movement continued disseminating propaganda in favour of their mantra, claiming that the world is becoming multi-polar because of ongoing processes of the re-division of the world de-dollarisation, and whether Georgia likes it or not, it will fall into one of the power poles, and it is likely that Georgia will be in Russia's sphere of influence.

GD supporters and Kremlin sympathisers spread propaganda against the EU and the West, talk on interference in Georgian sovereignty:

  • One of the main topics that the statements at the demonstration concerned were interference in Georgia's internal affairs: "The countries [the US and European states] that pretended to be our friends interfered in the internal affairs very rudely, the Georgian people will not allow their honour to be abused", "Georgian people did not fight to change their master, be it Brussels, Washington, Moscow or any other capital", "Georgia's fate cannot be decided neither in Moscow, nor in Brussels, nor in Kyiv", "Our people, our society is asking for peace, not war. We are coming to say "no" to fascist, Bolshevik, sadistic aspirations, destabilisation and conflict in the country, interference in the country's affairs, unjustified resolutions and sanctions, humiliation and insults, constant upheaval and death of peace",
  • Pro-Russian Alt-Info's anchor claimed that Viola Von Cramon, Andrius Kubilius and other MEPs have financial interests in regard to their activities towards Georgia because otherwise, Viola Von Cramon would not have commented on every issue of Georgia's internal and foreign policy, including criticising Georgia's Prime Minister for his visit in the EU member state Hungary. Another anchor blamed MEP Viola Von Cramon for blatantly interfering in Georgia's internal affairs.
  • Pro-Russian professor, once ousted from the auditorium by his students due to his pro-Russian and anti-Western statements, argued on the broadcast of pro-Russian Alt-Info that contrary to perceptions in Georgia, European integration would not result in building Mercedes Benz in Georgia or the import of super technologies, but rather the import of the propaganda of depravity and LGBT culture which is destroying the consciousness of each nation.
  • Members of the pro-Russian political party Conservative Movement claimed that neither Ukraine nor Moldova stood any chance of joining the EU. He developed a conspiracy theory, according to which an enormous amount of money from Europe has been and is being spent on Ukraine with the aim to destroy Ukraine. According to him, the restoration of Ukraine is very costly, and no one will either pay for it or admit wrecked Ukraine into the EU because, in that case, Europe and European taxpayers will have to pay for it.
  • Alt-Info also defended Hungary's Prime Minister Victor Orban, saying that the EU sanctioning Hungary and freezing aid is disrespectful not only towards Orban but also towards the choice of the Hungarian people because they elected Orban for his anti-liberal policies.
  • Pro-Russian Alt-Info’s pundit stated that the absence of the law by which people would demand and hold referendum/plebiscite to make decisions makes it impossible for Georgia to have neutral and objective media, ban LGBT propaganda, etc. According to propaganda, legislation that makes such a process impossible was adopted by foreign meddling in Georgia's politics starting from the Shevardnadze-led government, and it aims to prohibit Georgian people from implementing their views in practice and to silence and marginalise the opinions of Georgian people.
  • Alt-Info's anchor stated that the West is interfering in Georgia's internal affairs and specifically mentioned David Kramer, former United States Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, in this context. The anchor argued that the Georgian Parliament should not be working on the demands from the West, including those voiced by Mr Kramer, because such a situation completely undermines Georgia's sovereignty. He also assessed Georgian Dream's (GD) position and claimed that the whining of GD's chairman Kobakhidze in the media about how bad the West is and how they interfere in Georgia's internal affairs is irrelevant because they are still sending delegations to Brussels after such comments.

Disinformers top target of the week- US Ambassador to Georgia Kelly Degnan:

  • Pro-Russian Alt-Info, who has previously organised violent anti-LGBT rallies, speculated that as May is approaching, there are whispers that the US is not yet taking back its ambassador Kelly Degnan, whose term has practically expired, because she is going to take the salute of the gay parade in Tbilisi (possibly referring to International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia is observed on May 17).
  • Alt-Info continued a smear campaign against the US Ambassador Kelly Degnan and claimed that she continues what she has been doing so far – scolding Georgia's law enforcement system and the government, providing instructions and criticism which exceeds the ambassador's responsibilities. Alt-Info argued that the Georgian government is to blame for such a situation because if the government had acted correctly, then the US ambassador would not dare to make that type of comments, but on the contrary, she is now talking more than before.
  • Pro-government political commentator Ghia Abashidze claimed that the US ambassador Kelly Degnan is not missing any opportunity to damage bilateral relations because, according to Abashidze, the ambassador is trying to defend Davit Kezerashvili, the ex-defence minister who was recently accused by the BBC to be behind a billion dollar scam that defrauded mostly European pensioners.
  • Pro-Russian newspaper Georgia and the World stated the only country that was hampering the Western plot to bully smaller nations was Russia, and that is why the US and Europe sought to destroy Russia. The West wants to avoid self-damage and, therefore, made half or one-third of Ukraine to die against Russia and the remaining part is doomed for the same fate in several months.

Opinion polls and elections in the focus:

  • Another member of the pro-Russian Conservative Movement claimed that the parliamentary elections to be held in 2024 with a fully proportional system are easy to be rigged because electronic voting machines will be used.
  • IRI published its opinion polls regarding various socio-economic issues in Georgia, and they were dubbed as rigged and fake by Georgian Dream leaders and propagandists.