On June 14, 2019, web page tvalsazrisi.ge published an article, headlined “Georgian Muslims are ready to gain independence with arms”. It is noted in the article, as if in response to oppression of Adjarian Muslims, Turkey has announced that it will help Adjara to gain independence from Georgia.
The statement by tvalsazrisi.ge notes: “Adjara has all the conditions for sharing the fate of Abkhazia and “South Ossetia” and becoming an independent state. We are ready to struggle for independence with arms together with our accomplices, Adjarian Muslims.”
Russian edition “Express gazeta” (“Экспресс газета”) has been indicated as a primary source of information. Currently the material on tvalsazrisi.ge can no longer be searched. However, Georgian ultra-nationalist pages embraced the material and spread it virally on Facebook basing exactly on tvalsazrisi.ge.
The material spread by Tvalsazrisi.ge, is a disinformation, since it is not pointed in publication concretely by which representative of Turkish government and when the statement about supporting the separation of Georgian Muslims from Georgia has been made. No similar statement can be found in the article of the newspaper “Express gazeta”, indicated as a primary source. An illustrative photo of the article, which was taken during the peaceful protest held in Batumi in 2013, because of dismantling by Customs service of minaret, was also manipulative, while dissemination of misinformation creates only the simulation of visual evidence. Viral spreading of the material on ultra-nationalist, hatred group pages makes an impression, that these platforms, aiming to incite hatred based on religion, are orderly managed, and Tvalsazrisi.ge’s redaction policy positively portrays Russia’s role.
An article in Russian edition “Express gazeta” (“Экспресс газета”) headlined “Turkish are going to deprive Georgia from the whole region” (“Турки собрались забрать у Грузии целый регион”) was published on June 6, 2019. Although the whole material is related to the oppression of Adjarian Muslims in Georgia and it creates a context of incitement of hatred based on religion, here we cannot find the statement supporting separatism in Georgia by Turkish government, as it has been published by tvalsazrisi.ge.
Georgian as well as Russian edition has used the same manipulative photo as an illustration to the article. The photo has been taken by ipn.ge in Batumi in 2013 during the protest, held because of dismantling by Customs service of minaret in Tchela village of Adigeni district.
According to Registrator.ge’s data, tvalsazrisi.ge was registered on April 30, 2019, while their Facebook page was created on May 2 of the same year.
Media outlet covers local as well as international news on both platforms. The news related to Russian Federation: “Russia’s international reserves exceed 500 billion dollars”, “Residents of Donetsk and Lugansk got Russian passports by simplified procedure”, “Russia and Georgia managed to come out from the dead end of enmity”, and other are being covered with a special frequency.
Who shared tvalsazrisi.ge’s material?
The article by Tvalsazrisi.ge has been shared on Facebook by ultra-nationalist pages: “Kardhu”, “Spetsrazmi” and “Kartuli dzala” (Eng. “Georgian power”) several hours after its publication, which generates the perception about their possible connections. It is also noteworthy, that noted material was not available on Tvalsazrisi.ge on the second day from its publication, while on the web pages of hatred groups it is available even without a link and has been used in social network as multiplication.
“Kardhu” and “Spetsrazmi” leave identical comments under the Facebook post.
It is noted on “Spetsrazmi” Facebook page, that it is being managed by user Giorgi Tabatadze.
There is a link in section “About us”, which redirects us to “Spetsrazmi” Youtube channel. Along with other videos with military theme, there is a video, dedicated to presence of the Russian military contingent in Syria. From 1:04 minute of the video, а military machine has been shown with Russian flag and an inscription: “Assistance to Syria from Russia”. Soldiers hand out plastic bags to the people gathered.
Prepared by Nana Rapava