Spilnota Detector Media

Fake Georgia allegedly accused Ukraine of involvement in protests in Tbilisi

Propagandists in Russian media and telegram channels claim that Georgia allegedly announced the participation of Ukrainians in organizing protests in Tbilisi. They say this was reported by the Georgian security service. However, this is fake.

Specialists from the StopFake project drew attention to it. They found out that we are talking about mass protests in Georgia against the bill “On Foreign Influence”, similar to a document in Russia, which is used there to oppress dissidents.

However, statements about the participation of Ukrainians in “organizing protests in Tbilisi” are unreliable, in particular because the Georgian security service, cited by Russian media, did not make them. StopFake journalists examined all official channels of this department and did not find any relevant statements.

It seems that the fake was created based on a report from the Georgian security service that during the protests some groups are trying to “organize provocations aimed at developing destructive and violent scenarios”, and these groups are funded by foreign countries, without specifying which ones. The Georgian Security Service also reported that “Georgian citizens outside the country are actively participating in the mentioned criminal plans, in particular, a certain part of the Georgians fighting in Ukraine, who declare their readiness to come to Georgia and actively participate in the planned violence against the police”. However, this service message does not talk about any Ukrainians.

Russia is covering the protests in Georgia through the prism of “color revolution” narratives and conspiracy theories. They say that any protests against government decisions are organized by “Western hands”. Detector Media has repeatedly refuted other conspiracy theories used by Russian propaganda.

Fake Some Ukrainians are allegedly being deported due to mass protests in Europe

A screenshot from the supposedly official website of the EU Delegation to Ukraine is being circulated online, containing information about the “deportation of 830,000 Ukrainians to resolve the conflict”. The authors of the “news” report that lists of citizens subject to deportation have already been compiled, so they invite you to go to the telegram bot to familiarize yourself with them.

In fact, this information is fake, writes the Center for Countering Disinformation at the National Security and Defense Council. There is no publication of similar content on the official website of the EU Delegation to Ukraine.

Probably, such content is distributed to increase the reach of anonymous telegram channels to which links lead. In addition, the creators of the fake seek to destabilize the situation in Europe and make Ukrainian refugees object to their future in EU countries. Previously, we denied information that German citizens allegedly advocate the forced extradition of Ukrainian refugees from the country.

Fake Euronews allegedly wrote that the statement of the Ukrainian Embassy in France angered French farmers

Propagandists in Russian-language telegram channels published a video claiming that the statement of the Ukrainian Embassy in France outraged French farmers. The video, which bears the logo of the media company Euronews, shows a document that, according to the authors of such messages, indicates that the Ukrainian Embassy called on farmers to end their protest and unite as Ukrainians in favor of their Motherland. According to the video, the leader of the farmers' union responded to this by saying that Ukraine has no right to demand anything from France and should keep its opinion to itself. They say that because of this statement, farmers threw manure at the Embassy. However, this is fake.

Specialists from the MythDetector project drew attention to it. They found that although the Euronews logo was used in the video, the media had never published such content. Also, the information that farmers threw manure at the Embassy was not confirmed. Local media such as France 24 and Le Monde did not write about this. The initial footage of the video shows the farmers' protest, but they were not filmed in front of the Ukrainian Embassy, but in front of the regional council building in the city of Dijon. The authors of the video claim that the statement from the Ukrainian Embassy is dated February 7, and therefore farmers should have tested in the following days, but the video used has been circulating on social networks since December 2023. In addition, the statements that the propagandists are talking about are not on the official resources of the Embassy.

Open's fact-checkers also verified this video with the Euronews logo. The organization compared the signature on a fictitious document attributed to Ukrainian Ambassador Vadym Omelchenko with his real signature. It turned out that, among other inaccuracies, the signature shown in the video did not match the Ambassador's real signature. The video also falsified a commentary by Arnaud Rousseau, the leader of France's largest farmers' union. The images, which show Rousseau’s false statement on screen, were cut from an interview published on February 2.

Since the beginning of Russian aggression against Ukraine, videos with logos of various foreign media have appeared. They mainly concerned events in Ukraine and the West and had the goal of discrediting Ukraine and the EU countries. This is especially true in the context of farmer protests across Europe, which Russia is trying to fuel. Detector Media recently published a study on exactly how Russian propaganda does this and what role right-wing movements play in this.

Manipulation Ukraine has allegedly become a 100% police state

Russian propagandists claim that in Ukraine, since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, the number of police officers per 10 thousand population has increased from 20 to 100. In asserting this, propagandists refer to the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Ihor Klymenko, who allegedly made a corresponding statement. As a consequence, Ukraine allegedly “became a 100% police state”.

In fact, the information was manipulated. In an interview with the “We are Ukraine” channel, the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Ihor Klymenko spoke about increasing the number of police officers fivefold specifically in the deoccupied territories, and not throughout the entire territory of Ukraine.

“On average, there were 23-26 police officers per 10 thousand population of Ukraine before the large-scale war. Today there are more than 100 in the deoccupied territories. Because the regime is much tougher, because there are many more tasks. I can say that the police began a large-scale war and increased their functionality by 80%. But we are not increasing the number of police officers”, the minister said.

For comparison, according to Eurostat, on average in EU countries there were 335 police officers per 100 thousand population in 2019-2021. That is, on average 33-34 police officers per 10 thousand people. In 2021, in Ukraine this figure was 287 police officers, and in Russia - 510, which was one of the largest figures in the world.

In 2014, Russia had 564 police officers per 100 thousand people, and that year it was recognized as the most police state. It is significant that over the past 10 years the number of police officers in Russia has remained at one of the highest levels in the world, while in Ukraine this figure does not exceed the European average.

By manipulating information, in this case, propagandists seek to create a picture of an authoritarian Ukraine led by Volodymyr Zelenskyi. Like, now it’s clear why people don’t oppose the “Kyiv regime”. However, Ukraine is a free and democratic state, and Russians’ reproaches about authoritarianism in their neighboring country have no basis.

• Read also: Police were allegedly allowed to use traumatic weapons, rubber truncheons and tear gas to disperse rallies

Fake The policemen were allegedly allowed to use traumatic weapons, rubber batons and tear gas to disperse the rallies

Pro-Russian telegram channels are spreading information that, in the conditions of social tension, employees of the National Police of Ukraine were apparently allowed to disperse people at rallies with the help of special means. As proof, the propagandists distributed a photo of the order, which was allegedly signed by the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

In fact, this information is false, reports the Center for Countering Disinformation at the National Security Council. First, the order does not meet the requirements of official paperwork, and this already indicates its falsity. Secondly, all the rules and grounds for the use of special means are clearly spelled out in the law On the National Police in Art. 45 “Application of special means”. In the end, the Center verified the information with the press secretary of the Ministry of Internal Affairs Mariana Reva, who assured that the so-called “order” was fake, as well as its content.

Propagandists speculate on rallies or protest actions of Ukrainian citizens, because there have been more such mayors compared to the first months of a full-scale war. In addition, Russian propaganda spread a fake with the goal of discrediting law enforcement agencies of Ukraine. Earlier, Detector Media refuted the information that in one of the Ukrainian universities, a student was allegedly forcibly taken from the auditorium by law enforcement officers.

Message Ukraine staged a “Jewish pogrom” in Dagestan

Pro-Kremlin resources claim that on the evening of October 29, mass riots at Makhachkala airport allegedly occurred as a result of information “stuffing” by telegram channels controlled from Ukraine. They allegedly announced the arrival of a flight with refugees - Israeli citizens - in Dagestan. In addition, propagandists claim that they have already established the probable involvement of Iliia Ponomariov, a former State Duma deputy under the control of the SBU, in the situation at the airport. One of their arguments is that Ponomariov even had an “interview on this topic” before.

Propagandists do not provide any evidence for their statements. They assume that a “provocation” was prepared, but for some reason their government allegedly deliberately did not notice the problem. At the same time, some opinion leaders in Russia do not condemn the actions of the Dagestanis, but rather dissociate themselves from the situation, which is another reputational blow for the Kremlin. For example, Russian blogger Yurii Podoliak says that activists behaved in a similar way on the Maidan in Kyiv. They say that everything happened according to the same method, and the participants in the riots seemed to be working for the “Kyiv regime”.

It should be noted that in this case, pro-Russian sources use one of the propaganda tactics called “scapegoat” - they make amends for the Dagestanis and shift responsibility for the events in Makhachkala to Ukraine. Previously, we wrote about how Russian propaganda uses anti-Semitic stereotypes against Ukraine.

Message Pryhozhyn's rebellion was planned in the West

This thesis was circulated on social networks, in particular on telegram channels broadcasting pro-Kremlin rhetoric. The reports say that the founder of the terrorist organization within the Russian army “Wagner”, recognized by the Ukrainian parliament as an international criminal organization, Yevhenii Pryhozhyn really serves the West and Kyiv. Accordingly, he carries out the orders of Western officials. The authors add that, in fact, the rebellion was planned in the West in order to “once again try to destroy” Russia.

The case was reviewed by the fact-checkers of the EU vs Disinfo project, who explained that this is an unfounded conspiracy theory. In the end, the authors did not provide any evidence that the rebellion was planned in the West. By blaming the West, propagandists are trying to portray Russia as the victim of a conspiracy and undue outside interference. Like, the Russians are so conscious and united that they are not capable of any rebellion. That is, such things happen only at the behest of external enemy forces, namely hostile Western officials.

Read the material of Detector Media analysts on how Russian propaganda reacted to Pryhozhyn's rebellion.

Fake NATO may involve Azov and Kraken battalions to suppress protests in France

Anonymous telegram channels and Russian media broadcasting pro-Kremlin rhetoric are spreading reports that NATO is considering enlisting the Azov and Kraken battalions to quell protests in France. This was allegedly written on the official website of the Alliance with reference to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. It's fake.

The Center for Counteracting Disinformation drew attention to the case. To spread it, Russian propaganda used a fake page of the Alliance. Moreover, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg did not make such statements.

In this way, Russian propagandists are trying to discredit the Azov and Kraken battalions, as well as to emphasize that Ukraine is a puppet in the hands of the West. Earlier, Detector Media refuted the fake that in Poltava people sold Easter sets “with symbols of the Nazis” and the Azov regiment.

Fake Protests in France used weapons previously transferred to the Armed Forces of Ukraine

Anonymous telegram channels broadcasting pro-Kremlin rhetoric spread information that the protests in France allegedly used weapons previously handed over to the Ukrainian military. Russian propaganda adds a screenshot of the article with a text about it. It's fake.

The fact-checkers of the VoxCheck project drew attention to the case. They note that the article referenced by the Russian propaganda does not exist with that title. In addition, neither the name of the publication, nor the date of publication, nor the name of the author are indicated on the screenshot. The photo was first circulated in 2012. Reliable French and world media did not write such articles, and international partners did not report on the resale of weapons.

Some Russian propagandists refer to Agoravox, but from the very beginning this media has been spreading Russian narratives and discrediting Ukraine.

Thus, Russian propagandists are trying to discredit the Ukrainian authorities and disrupt the supply of weapons to Ukraine. Earlier, Detector Media denied the fake that Ukrainians took part in the protests in France for money.

Fake Ukrainians took part in protests in France for money

Propagandists on anonymous telegram channels that spread pro-Russian rhetoric claim that the French media website RFI has information that Ukrainian citizens took part in protests in Paris, Marseille, Lyon and other French cities. Like, they say that they have nothing against the French authorities, but allegedly protested for money. However, the authors of the message hint that the protesters may be “lying”. According to them, the French authorities do not intend to give this “political shade”, but this could allegedly lead to a more negative attitude towards Ukrainian refugees in Europe. However, this is manipulation.

The authors of the message do not provide a link to the article, but only to the main page of the French media. There are no similar articles about this on the site or on other platforms.

By publishing such fakes, propagandists once again want to show Ukrainians as ungrateful provocateurs who want to destabilize the situation within Europe. Detector Media has already written about other manipulations against Ukrainian refugees, in particular about a Ukrainian who allegedly destroyed a monument to Polish soldiers who fought against Nazism.

Manipulation Zelenskyi compared the protests in Georgia with the events of the Euromaidan

Such messages appeared in the Georgian segment of social networks. The reports said that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi compared the events in Georgia to the events in Ukraine nearly a decade ago during the Euromaidan period. The authors of the post assured that Zelenskyi made such a statement during one of his video messages and added that he “wishes the Georgians would achieve the same success as the Ukrainians did”. However, this is manipulation. In fact, as analysts of the MythDetector project found out that neither in the video fragment added to the message, nor in the full version of the appeal, the President of Ukraine made an identical or similar statement. He only expressed support for the Georgian people and thanked them for playing the Ukrainian anthem and for waving Ukrainian flags at the protests. On March 9, Volodymyr Zelenskyi indeed published a video message on his official Facebook page. The first part of the video deals with current events in Ukraine. In the second part, Zelenskyi reacted to the protests in Georgia against the bill on “transparency of foreign influence”. However, in the video message, Zelenskyi did not mention Euromaidan. He thanked the Georgian people for supporting the Ukrainians and noted that there is no Ukrainian who would not wish Georgia's success. That is, the authors of messages distorted the words of the Ukrainian president on social networks. 

Fake Two Ukrainians “lead protests in Georgia”

Such information was disseminated in social networks, in particular, on telegram channels broadcasting pro-Kremlin rhetoric. Reports say that during the March 8 protest, it was led by two Ukrainians who were “trained by the Americans” and participated in “color revolutions” in other countries. The authors of the reports add that “Ukrainian protesters” used Molotov cocktails. As evidence, the authors of the messages add a video fragment of the protest, recorded by one of the Georgian channels. It is not true.

The fact-checkers of the MythDetector project got down to the case and found that Ukrainians were not depicted in the footage. As the fact-checkers explain, the video shows Georgian volunteers of the Center for Extreme Medicine providing medical assistance to the victims during the action. This video was also posted on the Center for Extreme Medicine Facebook page. The video shows people in the same clothes, they wash the eyes of the victim with a saline solution, which the authors of the messages call a Molotov cocktail.

Analysts also turned to volunteers, who confirmed that the footage depicts Georgian volunteers, and not “Ukrainian protesters trained by the Americans”.

The public of Georgia actively opposes the adoption in the first reading of the law “On the transparency of foreign influence”, called the “Russian law”. It is considered an analogue of the notorious ban on “foreign agents” in Russia, which actually suppressed the already weak voices of the opposition and made it impossible for international monitoring missions to be present inside the country. The law, adopted by the Georgian Parliament on March 7, 2023, provides for the creation of a register of “agents of foreign influence”. The authorities will create a special open database of organizations and individuals if the share of foreign investments in their activities is at least 20%. It is noteworthy that the voting continued in violation of the rules of parliament and without public discussion.

We recall that Detector Media analyzed messages aimed at discrediting the protest movement in Georgia.

Disclosure How Russian propaganda reacted to the protests in Georgia

The public of Georgia actively opposes the adoption in the first reading of the law “On the transparency of foreign influence”, called the “Russian law”. It is considered analogous to the notorious ban on “foreign agents” in Russia, which actually suppressed the already weak voices of the opposition and ruled out the possibility of the presence of international monitoring missions inside the country. The law, adopted by the Georgian Parliament on March 7, 2023, provides for the creation of a register of “agents of foreign influence”. The authorities will create a special open database of organizations and individuals if the share of foreign investments in their activities is at least 20%. The Ministry of Justice will have the right to “observe” the work of potential “foreign agents” and receive the necessary information, including personal data. It is noteworthy that the voting was held in violation of the rules of parliament without public discussion. There is still a second and third reading, but since the law has the support of the ruling Georgian Dream party, the parliament will probably approve the document.

The law marginalizes key international organizations that monitor rights and freedoms in Georgia. This is exactly what happened in Russia after the adoption of the relevant law in 2012. Also, due to the adoption of the law, funding for opposition media, whose work is supported from abroad, will potentially decrease. In addition, the adoption of the law may indicate the actual departure from the European integration course, which Georgia announced together with Moldova and Ukraine (Associated Trio). The law could deal a blow to the Georgian economy. Georgian entrepreneurs are being helped by a European program to support traditional small and medium-sized businesses (for example, in the distilling industry), and the new law will put this program in jeopardy.

The state has come to the so-called “Yanukovych crossroads”, when society and the authorities have diametrically opposed visions of Georgia’s development, and contradictions peaked after the missed chance for EU membership in July 2022. Against the backdrop of these upheavals, a number of messages appeared on telegram channels broadcasting pro-Russian rhetoric aimed at discrediting the Georgian protest movement. We consider them in more detail below.

The events in Georgia are the beginning of the “color revolution”, the “beautiful life” will soon come, as happened in Ukraine. The term “color revolutions” refers to the most civilized disintegration of the 20th century - the “velvet divorce” of the Czech Republic and Slovakia, where, as a result of the bloodless and democratic Velvet Revolution, the post-communist elites of both parts of Czechoslovakia headed for independence, announced a transition from socialist relations. Currently, “colored” or “velvet” refers to peaceful protests that result in certain political changes. Despite the non-violent nature of the protests, Russian propaganda interprets such revolutions negatively, they mark a departure from the communist course, the dismantling of the socialist system and the transition to democratic governance. Propaganda uses this term in a negative sense, assuring that such protests advocate false values. The mention of Ukraine in a disparaging way reproduces the narrative of condemning the Revolution of Dignity and devaluing its positive consequences. Propaganda claims that due to the removal of Yanukovych from power and following a new pro-European course, the life of Ukrainians has worsened, so they “warn” the Georgians that if the protesters succeed, their society will expect the same thing. Yes, Ukraine had to endure a deep economic crisis in 2014, but at the same time managed to take a confident course towards Euro-Atlantic integration and strengthen its democracy. Russia is afraid of a “velvet divorce” with Georgia, because it does not want to lose it from its field of influence for a number of geopolitical and economic reasons.

Local “Sorosiata” (Soros’s supporters) are trying to prevent the cessation of foreign funding. This message discredits representatives of Georgian civil society who stood up for democracy and ascribes a far-fetched mercantile goal to their actions. The protests in Georgia are not about funding, but about protecting democracy and freedom of speech. Similar assessments were made about the events of the Euromaidan. It seems to be, in particular, a struggle for the opportunity to receive Western “handouts” and grants in exchange for sovereignty. With such statements, propagandists are trying to substitute  concepts, calling the struggle for values a struggle for money.

“Verkhniolarsivtsi” (Russins who fled to Georgia through the border crossing point “Verkhnii Lars”)  join the ranks of the protesters and chant anti-Russian slogans. With this neologism propagandists call Russians who fled to Georgia in order to avoid mobilization or to avoid reprisals for their anti-war position. In autumn, the line at the “Verkhnii Lars” checkpoint stretched for tens of kilometers, because there were hundreds of thousands of people who wanted to leave Russia. Propaganda claims that the “Verkhniolarsivtsi” have settled down well in their rented apartments, and having lost any sense of shame and dignity, these “traitors” went to the “Georgian Maidan” and chanted slogans insulting to Putin and chanted “Sa-kart-ve- lo”*. This message rather works for the internal Russian audience, forcing once again to condemn those who are hiding from the mobilization.

Local Georgian authorities are out of control. The US State Department is concerned about this fact, therefore it supports the protesters in every possible way, and wants to “calm down” the elite with their hands and direct it to the true path. This message is a classic reproduction of the “external control” narrative carried out by “Western curators” to please the US State Department and powerful international corporations. Propaganda assures: all the events of the Revolution of Dignity were orchestrated from the outside and successfully implemented by local actors from the “Soros structures”. Now Russian propaganda is convincing that the same thing is happening in Georgia: representatives of grant structures allegedly actively oppose the “legitimately elected” government, undermining its authority and the legality of its decisions. The purpose of this message is to disregard the sovereignty of Georgia, leveling the independence of decision-making and discrediting any actions of civil society.

* Sakartvelo is the name of Georgia, which is used by its inhabitants themselves. The name “Georgia” is used by Russia and 20 other states, including Ukraine; in most countries of the world, the name “George” (or its derivatives) is adopted. Against the backdrop of deteriorating relations with Russia and the Russian-Georgian war of 2008, official Tbilisi calls on other states to abandon the name “Georgia” in favor of Sakartvelo or “Heorhia”. Lithuania, Japan, Israel and South Korea have already abandoned the name “Georgia” in official documents.

Fake Ukrainians protest against Zelenskyi

In the foreign segment of social networks, videos of alleged protests in Ukraine are being distributed. Like, Ukrainians are protesting against Zelenskyi, in whom they were disappointed during the year of the war. According to correspondents, the rallies took place day and night. This video is fake.

The protests in the video have nothing to do with Ukraine or Zelenskyi. This is a video of protests in Slovakia in 2018 and 2019 as a result of the murder of a journalist. The fact checker of the Dpa-factchecking project drew attention to the spread of the fake. They found out that on February 21, 2018, the Slovak investigative journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancee Martina Kushnirova were killed. This murder led to mass protests in Slovakia, specifically on March 9, 2018, March 16, 2018 and February 21, 2019. These protests led to the resignations of the chief of police and the ministers of justice, internal affairs and culture.

We recall that in Ukraine, during martial law, restrictions were imposed on holding mass events and a curfew was introduced. Russian propaganda is trying in any way to destabilize the situation inside Ukraine and discredit Ukraine and Ukrainians at the international level.

Fake In Denmark, they protest against the supply of weapons to Ukraine en masse

In social networks and telegram channels, messages are spreading allegedly about large-scale protests in Copenhagen. Users claim that they are allegedly protesting against the provision of weapons to Ukraine. It's fake.

There were indeed protests in Denmark, but they have nothing to do with the supply of weapons to Ukraine. According to VoxCheck, these are rallies against the abolition of the state holiday, which took place on February 6. The Danish government has proposed abolishing the public holiday on the Day of Great Prayer on 5 May. According to officials, this will help to quickly increase the country's defense budget. In response, the unions protested. There was no talk of the need to increase the defense budget through military assistance to Ukraine. The protesters also did not demand to stop helping Ukraine.

Thus, Russian propaganda is trying to distort information about the level of support for Ukraine abroad. They say that citizens of Western countries are holding rallies demanding to stop the supply of weapons to Ukraine. Previously, propaganda spread fake news about protests in the Netherlands, France, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Moldova, Belgium, etc.

Manipulation In Ukraine, "widows' maidan" is anticipated

Pro-Russian telegram channels and Russian resources wrote that supposedly in different cities of Ukraine there were protests by wives and relatives of the dead servicemen. Like, the Ukrainian authorities instructed the media to hush up information about these protests. This is manipulation.

In fact, in this way, the relatives of the captured servicemen demanded that the prisoners be exchanged according to the “all for all” scheme. This event was covered by the Ukrainian media.

In the messages, propagandists also mentioned military personnel who were considered missing. However, they emphasized that the majority of these military men allegedly died, and the command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine “intentionally” did not inform their relatives about this. They also manipulated the distribution of Ukrainians by region of residence. They say that the inhabitants of the West of Ukraine do not understand why their relatives should fight for Donbas.

Russian propaganda uses the emotionally vulnerable state of Ukrainians whose relatives are at the front to further destabilize the internal situation in Ukraine. Earlier propagandists have already said that allegedly the Ukrainian authorities are lying, that there are no losses in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, although the Armed Forces of Ukraine are losing people “left and right” in the interests of the West. To enhance the effect, propaganda combines these messages with messages about mobilization, saying that the Office of the President increases it. More details.