With the escalation of the tensions between Russia and Ukraine and the mobilization of Russian troops on the Ukrainian border, “Politicano” – a Facebook page linked to the Primakov Russian-Georgian Public Center – has become relatively active on social media. Namely, the page has so far published and sponsored at least 8 posts that specifically target Ukraine.
“Myth Detector” has studied “Politicano’s” advertising library from December 1st to January 22nd, showing that each post was sponsored with less than USD 100, with George Mdivani being the advertiser.
Sponsored posts contained the following messages:
- An infographic highlighting the advantages of the Russian military armaments accompanied by the following text: “In the light of the confrontation between Ukraine and Russia, one should also look at the balance of military power.”
- The statement by the former Commander-in-Chief of the German Navy Kay-Achim Schönbach, due to which he later resigned, stating that it is not pragmatic for Georgia and Ukraine to join NATO.
- Ukraine is a failed state: “It is difficult to find a more failed state on the map than Ukraine. “Two color revolutions, a civil war, a comedian president, governments full of corruption, lost territories and the same GDP as African countries – this is modern Ukraine.”
- Ukraine is losing its transit function: The message concerned the failure to approve a bill initiated by US Senate Republican Sen. Ted Cruz imposing sanctions on North Stream-2.
- Together with the US, Ukraine supports Nazism. “Only the United States and Ukraine have voted against the resolution against the glorification of Nazism.”
- NATO mixes up Georgia and Ukraine: Based on a screenshot of Jens Stoltenberg on Twitter, showing that the picture of a meeting with the Ukrainian President was accompanied with the text copied from the tweet devoted to the meeting with the Georgian Prime Minister, “Politicano” claims that NATO does not respect Ukraine and mixes up two sovereign countries – Ukraine and Georgia.
- Ukraine is an unstable country: “A photo collage depicting the protests demanding the resignation of the government in different years.”
- The President of Ukraine is a clown: A photo of Ukrainian President Zelensky with “Politicano” commenting: “How does this clown dare saying this much?” The comment concerned the following statement made by Zelenksy in connection with the imprisonment of the third President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili: “Ukraine will raise the issue of the return of Mikheil Saakashvili at all levels.”
Notably, the post of “Politicano”, which covered the US and Ukrainian position on the UN resolution, was marked by “Myth Detector” as misleading within the Facebook fact-checking program, after which Facebook cancelled the advertisement of the post.
“Politicano’s” posts are sponsored by Giorgi Mdivani, the head of Politicano, who also appeared as a host at the pro-governmental media outlet “Spacesnews”, which pursues a hybrid editorial policy and is the recipient of budgetary service contracts. Giorgi Mdivani also participated in a joint conference organized by the Conservative Party and members of the Russian Duma on January 21st.
The Facebook page Politicano is a medium with links to Yevgeny Primakov Russian-Georgian Civic Center. The Center was founded by the Gorchakov Fund, established under the Russian President’s decree, and the Georgian Institute for International relations.
Politicano positions itself as a left-wing outlet, invoking Euro-Atlantic skepticism and portraying the colonial past of Europe as modern reality. At the same time, the page denies the Russian and Soviet occupation.
Politicano also denies the responsibility of Russia in the 2008 August War and often spreads anti-Western narratives, claiming that apart from Russia, Georgian territories are occupied by other states as well.