On October 10, an online edition Alt-Info released an article headlined “Matthew Bryza: Georgia has forever lost control over its territories and Russia will never leave them!” The article contains remarks allegedly made by former U.S. diplomat Matthew Bryza in the interview with Ukrainian TV Espreso on October 8. Later on October 10, Alt-Info’s article was shared by Facebook page “ანტი-ლიბერალური კლუბი” (Anti-liberal Club). On October 12, MP Emzar Kvitsiani of the Alliance of Patriots party also shared the article with a comment “The result of your support!” On October 16, Sakinform news agency released an article with identical content.
Matthew Bryza’s phrase used by Alt-Info and Sakinform in the headline has been taken out of context and it is misleading the readers. In fact, Bryza has not made any forecasts about Georgia’s occupied territories; he compared the current situation in Georgia to Ukraine, noting that the situation is much difficult in Georgia. Speaking with the Myth Detector, Matthew Bryza noted that his message implied manipulations with the issue of occupation by Russia and its intention not to leave Georgia’s occupied regions.
- Matthew Bryza’s interview with Espreso
In response to the question asked during the interview with Ukrainian TV channel Espreso about restoration of Ukraine’s control over the territories annexed by Russia, Matthew Bryza compared the situation in Ukraine to the situation in Georgia’s occupied regions, saying that the situation in Ukraine is not as hopeless and difficult as in Georgia. Bryza said that when he visited the administrative boundary line with Tskhinvali region, he supposed that Russia did not intend to leave the region.
„But the situation is not hopeless and even not nearly as difficult as in Georgia. I visited Georgia a few weeks ago, went to the demarcation line in South Ossetia, I saw the FSB base near the border, and it made me think that Georgia had finally lost control of these territories and that Russia would never leave. This contrasts with the Donbas. Even if Russia has great influence there at all levels, it must still have the political backing of the EU to declare that it is a civil war. Ukraine can manage its future. What Ukraine has already done is that it has halted Russia's advancement in the East with virtually no Western assistance, not even all the "jewels" in Ukraine. The Ukrainian military's own rebirth and success. That is why Ukraine has great opportunities to return these territories and at the same time can change the situation if Ukrainian legislation prevails there. This is certainly not the best situation, but more encouraging than it was in Georgia.“ – stated Bryza.
- Matthew Bryza’s comments to Myth Detector
To clarify the issue, the Myth Detector contacted Matthew Bryza, who said that it is important not to use one sentence from the whole interview that will distort the context and give way to misinterpretation.
Matthew Bryza: “I made a statement that was similar to the quote, but not exactly. What I recall saying was that Georgia lost control of its regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia because of Russia's diplomatic and military aggression, that Russia has subsequently cemented its hold on the territories it occupies, and Russia has no intent of leaving. It's important not to take this one sentence of the context of the overall interview, for which my key point was that Russia is manipulating European diplomats and political leaders in Europe about Ukraine in the same way it did so in Georgia after invading and occupying 20% of Georgia's territory.”
Alt-Info frequently spreads manipulative articles, providing information selectively, based on its own goals. This propaganda technique is known as “card stacking,” meaning that information is partially true, but it is offered selectively or essential information is omitted at all.
Below are the materials verified by the Myth Detector regarding Alt-Info’s widespread manipulations: https://bit.ly/2pOx0BY
The 100 percent shareholder in the news agency Sakinfomi LLC is Arno Khidirbegishvili who is also the editor-in-chief of the edition since 2013. According to damoukidebloba.com, the domain of Sakinformi is registered on the name of Taras Gagnidze who is the leader of the pro-Russian organization Historical Heritage which also owns Georgia & World. Like Geworld.ge, Sakinformi is notorious for its hate speech and anti-western narratives.
The materials verified by the Myth Detector regarding Sakinform’s manipulative articles and disinformation are provided at the link below: https://bit.ly/2NfOA9W
Prepared by Nika Gurin
Regional Network of Myth Detector Lab