Healthcare/Biosafety

Kremlin’s Virus in Georgia: Three Pieces of Disinformation on Swine Flu

15 January, 2019

Disinformation and conspiracy theories related to swine flu have gone viral in social media and tabloids recently. According to the three most widespread conspiracy theories about swine flu:

  1. Swine flu was spread from the Lugar Laboratory;
  2. Swine flu is an artificially created epidemic and it is linked with business interests;
  3. Bananas imported to Georgia are injected with swine flu.

A new wave of conspiracy theories, about which the Myth Detector had written earlier, is coming from the Kremlin’s propaganda sources, among them:

  1.  Sputnik.ru founded by the Russian President;
  2.  TV Zvezda run by the Ministry of Defense of Russia;
  3.  Риа Фан one of the projects implemented by St. Petersburg Troll Factory;
  4.  Tsargrad tv owned by Konstantin Malofeev, Russian oligarch, allegedly linked with separatist activities in Donbas, etc.

"


Media

Political links

sputnik

Sputnik is a multimedia international project founded upon the December 9, 2013 order of the President of Russia. It is one of the main media platforms of the Kremlin propaganda outside Russia.

Звезда

TV Zvezda is run by the Ministry of Defense of Russia

Риа Фан

One of the projects implemented by St. Petersburg Troll Factory

tsargrad.tv

Tsargrad TV is owned by Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeev. The latter is allegedly linked with separatist activities in Donbas that prompted both the United States and the European Union to impose major sanctions against him.

360tv.ru

360tv.ru is a television founded by Boris Gromov, Russian lawmaker and governor of Moscow Oblast.

Other Media

gazeta.ru, sm-news.ru, polit.info


It has been years already that Russian officials, among others Gennadiy Onishchenko, Russian MP and former chief sanitary doctor, and Yulia Melano, the spokesperson for the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance of Russia (“Rosselkhoznadzor”), have been accusing the Lugar Laboratory of spreading swine flu and various epidemics.

Disinformation 1. Swine flu was spread from the Lugar Laboratory

The Kremlin’s propaganda narrative as if swine flu is linked with the activities of the Lugar Center was first voiced by Lado Sadgobelashvili, former member of the Georgian March movement and later by Khatia Sichinava, former TV host, and Ana Zhgenti, defense lawyer. Their posts released in a period between January 4 and January 8 were reposted by 17 media outlets, including Alia, Intermedia, Tbiliselebi, Akhali Taoba, 2020news and others, in an assertive form.     

Source of disinformation – media outlet – spreads only one position: Facebook post: Lado Sadgobelashvili, former member of the Georgian March movement; Instagram post: Khatia Sichinava, former TV host; Facebook post: Ana Zhgenti, defense lawyer.


Source of disinformation

Media outlet – spreads only one position

Facebook post: Lado Sadgobelashvili, former member of the Georgian March movement

alia.ge

2020news.ge

metronome.ge

www.infopostalioni.com

euronews.ge

www.worldnews.ge

onone.ge

Instagram post: Khatia Sichinava, former TV host

cyc.ge

geonius.ge

otime.ge

Facebook post: Ana Zhgenti, defense lawyer

geonius.ge

euronews.ge

tvm.ge

intermedia.ge

http://tbiliselebi.com

akhalitaoba.ge

one.newsnow.ge

news.net.ge

timenews.ge


Disinformation 2. Swine flu is an artificially created epidemic and it is linked with business interests

Another conspiracy theory about the spread of swine flu in Georgia is linked with business interests and financial benefits


Source of disinformation

Narrative

Media outlet – spreads only one position

Nino Gvazava, mother of a child infected with swine flu

swine flu is an artificial epidemic organized by one group

www.primetime.ge

c.pain.ge

vanoggg.ge

Father Petre – archpriest of the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral

Swine flu was spread artificially with the purpose of selling antiviral drugs

www.newsmedia.ge

Giorgi Gigauri, journalist of Georgian tabloid Asaval-Dasavali

Swine flu does not exist at all. It has been invented to help certain people earn money through making vaccines

alia.ge

www.worldnews.ge

qartuliazri.reportiori.ge

cyc.ge

vanoggg.ge

Giorgi Mukhigulashvili – activist of Georgian Force

The price of swine flu antiviral drugs is being increased artificially. This case should be investigated by the State Security Service.

primetime.ge

alia.ge

cyc.ge


3. Bananas imported to Georgia are injected with swine flu

The conspiracy theory about swine flu allegedly injected in bananas has gone viral in social networks. This conspiracy theory first emerged in Georgian online editions in 2016 and a new wave is related to increased number of swine flu cases in December 2018 and January 2019. This conspiracy theory is mainly spread by the so called clickbait websites whose goal is to increase clicks and earn money through sensational headlines. Besides online editions, the conspiracy theories about bananas have also been spread by Facebook spam groups.     

"

"

See real facts on these conspiracies in Myth Detector's following materials

H1N1 Flu Emerged Two Years before Opening Lugar Lab

How Kremlin Tries to Cover up Russian Trace in Skripal Case with Lugar Laboratory

H1N1 Flu Emerged Two Years before Opening Lugar Lab

Recurrent black propaganda against Lugar laboratory