Senate Committee Publishes Report on Putin’s Assault on Democracy and pro-Russian Actors in Georgia

16 January, 2018

On January 10, 2018 US Senate Committee of Foreign Relations published the report "Putin's Asymmetric Assault on Democracy in Russia and Europe: Implications for U.S. National Security" which reviews Putin's subversive tactics in consolidated and semi-consolidated democracies. The document notes that these assaults take many forms, including the use of disinformation, cyber attacks, military invasions, alleged political assassinations, threats to energy security, election interference, and other subversive tactics that fuel corruption, employ organized crime, and exploit both far-right and far-left ideologies to sow discord and create confusion.

One part of the report is fully devoted to Georgia's issue, which starts with the overview of Russian military attack on Georgia in August, 2008. Document also notes that the conflict also represents the first time that cyber attacks were used alongside a military invasion.

In addition, the report refers to the topic of Russian propaganda in Georgia and names TV Obiektivi as an example of Russia-supported groups.

"Beyond its military assaults on Georgian territory, the Russian government also supports a variety of pro-Kremlin political parties, NGOs, and propaganda efforts in the country. For example, Obiektivi TV, a media outlet, reportedly relied on Russian funding in its support of the ultra-nationalistic Alliance of Patriots political party. Obiektivi’s xenophobic, homophobic, and anti-western narrative helped the Alliance of Patriots clear the threshold to enter parliament during the October 2016 election. Russian propaganda in Georgia borders on the bizarre. For example, Russian propaganda asserts that the United States uses the ‘‘Richard Lugar Public Health Research Center’’ to carry out biological tests on the Georgian population. According to the Georgian government, several pro-Russian groups are active in the country, including the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies and Russkiy Mir Foundation, two well-known institutions that the Kremlin uses to exert its influence abroad," - says the document.

The report also includes recommendations for the US Government, which involves support for the democratic institutions, imposing sanctions on Russia and increase funding to counter disinformation.