On December 8, 2016, an article by the Head of Eurasian Institute, Gulbaat Rtskhiladze - On the Absurdness of "Russian Propaganda” - was published on the webpage of Georgia and World. In the articles, Rtskhiladze speaks of increasing rating of a Russian informative TV channel RT (Russia Today) in Europe and the USA.
Gulbaat Rtskhiladze, Eurasian Institute: "If more and more American and European viewers trust Russia Today, while trust towards CNN is shrinking, in Georgian reality an increasing number of people trusts Russian TV channels against the background of a decreasing trust of Rustavi 2. This is not due to mythical Russian propaganda or the Government of Georgia – this is due to biased mass-media.”
The information about the increasing rating of RT was published on March 10, 2016 by RT itself. In the article prepared by RT, the Editor-in-Chief of the channel, Margarita Simonyan states that more than 35 million people watch RT from all around the world on a daily basis. According to the information, in the period of August – November 2015, 85 million people were watching the TV channel, while in more than 100 countries – more than 700 million. The material prepared by the TV channel states that the respective survey has been conducted on request of RT by a French research organization Ipsos, however, neither RT nor Ipsos have published either the research or its methodology.
According to one of the biggest German statistic portal, Statista, which is based in the US and the UK, according to the 2015 data, RT is not included in the top 20 of cable televisions, while the first three places belong to CBS, NBC and ABC.
Also in Europe, according to TV Newser, in January – November 2016, viewers of RT did not even constitute 0.1% of the total audience of European televisions and the channel itself failed to end up in the top 97 most watched TV channels list. According to the Broadcasters Audience Research Board (BARB), which measures TV ratings in the UK, in January – November 2016, the ranking of RT was fluctuating between 0.03-0.04%. The number of viewers of RT did not increase either in the pre-Brexit period, when pro-Russian editions were trying to fuse skepticism towards the European Union.
As for Georgia, according to January – August 2016 data of TV MR, on average, 82.66% of Georgian viewers watches Georgian channels, while 11.41% watches Russian or other foreign channels.
Rustavi 2 is the leader at the Georgian TV market, followed by TV Imedi and Maestro TV. As for the Russian channels, Perets TV is the most popular channel, which is watched by 1.2% of the Georgian viewers. Perets TV focuses on entertainment and programs about crime.
TV MR data shows that Georgian viewers interested in Russian channels are mostly watching entertainment channels.
The most popular channels in Georgia.
Propagandist TV network of RT is a brand of TV Novosti, which started airing in 2005. RT broadcasts information in Russian, English, Arabic and Spanish languages. Since 2005, the Government of Russian Federation is the main source of funding of RT.
RT’s agenda is anti-Western. It reports on the ongoing developments in the world from Kremlin’s perspective. During the 2008 Russo-Georgian War, RT accused Georgia of a "genocide”, while portraying Russia as a peacemaker. With the aim of stirring anti-Western feelings, RT allocates its airtime to ultra-leftist anti-globalists, as well as various radical nationalist groups.
Eurasian Institute was founded in Georgia in 2009 by Gulbaat Rtskhiladze and Giorgi Vekua. In 2013 Eurasian Institute founded Young Political Scientists’ Club. According to Damoukidebloba.com research, in 2014 representatives of the institute started attending meetings in Russia and among them in Russian Strategic Studies Institute(RISS) under the Administration of Russian President and representing a leading political science center.
Partners of Eurasian Institute are Georgian editions: Georgia and the World, Saqinform, Iverioni, Gia Boklomi (Open Lock), Scientific Society of Caucasiologists(SSC), and Lev Gumilev Center.
Financing sources of the organization haven’t been openly declared.
Prepared by Sopo Gelava