On March 10-13, 2023, Georgian and Russian-language Facebook users (1, 2, 3, 4) published a fragment of the video address of the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy. According to the posts, in his address, Zelenskyy stated that he wishes Georgia the same success as the Ukrainians achieved on the Maidan.
The statement in the name of Zelenskyy, as if he compared Tbilisi protests to the Maidan, is fabricated. Neither in the circulated fragment nor in the full version of the address, the President of Ukraine did not make an identical or similar statement. In fact, he expressed his support to the Georgian people and thanked them for playing the Ukrainian anthem and waving Ukrainian flags at the protests.
On March 9, Volodymyr Zelenskyy published a video message on his official Facebook page. The first part of the video is about the current events in Ukraine. In the second part, the President of Ukraine responds to the protests in Georgia against the draft law on “transparency of foreign influence”. Zelenskyy did not mention Maidan in his video address. He thanked the Georgian people for their support for Ukrainians and noted that there is no Ukrainian who does not wish Georgia success.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy, President of Ukraine: “I want to thank everyone who is holding Ukrainian flags in the squares and streets of Georgia these days. I want to express my gratitude for playing our national anthem in Tbilisi. This gesture is respect for Ukraine, and I also want to express my sincere respect to Georgia. There is no Ukrainian who does not wish success to our friend Georgia, a democratic success, a European success. We want to be in the EU, and we will. We want Georgia to join the European Union, and I am sure it will be so. We want Moldova in the EU, and I am sure it will be. All the free nations of Europe deserve this.”
It is important to note that drawing a parallel between the protests in Tbilisi and the Maidan events in a negative context is part of the Kremlin propaganda. Actors supporting the Kremlin are trying to convey the idea that Ukrainians are also participating in the protests, and they want to organize a Maidan in Tbilisi. For more information on the topic, see the articles prepared by “Myth Detector:”
- Georgian Pro-Kremlin Actors Voice Disinformation on Russian Channel One about the Protests in Tbilisi
- Ukrainians with Molotov Cocktails or Georgian Volunteers with Saline Solution?
The claim that Ukraine is motivated to create disturbance in Georgia has been voiced by the Georgian PM Garibashvili as well. His rhetoric was amplified by the Russian propaganda media.
The protest held on March 7-9 was the result of the draft law initiated by “People’s Power” and then adopted by the Parliament in the first reading. On March 9, the ruling “Georgian Dream” party issued a statement that it would withdraw the draft law, and at the plenary session held on March 10th, the Parliament of Georgia dropped the draft law on “transparency of foreign influence” in the second reading.
About the Sources
The fabricated statement of Zelenskyy was disseminated mostly by the actors that have disseminated disinformation in the past as well.
The anonymous account Злой Ёжик and also another Russian-language Facebook account, some of whose posts on the social network have been marked as fake, have been suspected of amplifying disinformation in the context of the Russian-Ukrainian war.
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