A member of the Alliance of Patriots, Ada Marshania, stated on air at a TV Obiektivi program Night Studio on March 26 that visa liberalization comes with a commitment to accept Syrian refugees. According to her, the given commitment represents a price that Georgia has to pay for the visa-free travel.
Ada Marshania, Alliance of Patriots: “What do we see in practice? Do we not see that there are refugees in our city? And why do we mislead the public? Let us tell the public that we were glad to receive visa liberalization, as a country that strives towards Europe, as well as likes it and wants it – weren’t we?! It comes with commitments to receive refugees from the war that we did not start [Syrian Civil War] in our homeland. This is some part of the price we have to pay!”
Obiektivi, Night Studio, March 26
The myth that the EU allegedly forces Georgia to receive Syrian refugees is a part of the pro-Kremlin propaganda. Initially, this message was disseminated in 2016 and concerned the Readmission Agreement. Georgia is not a member of the European Union, therefore, it does not enforce any kind of commitment over Georgia in the process of receiving the refugees.
Visa liberalization does not encompass the commitment to receive Syrian refugees. Such requirement is included neither in the Association Agreement signed with the EU, nor in the Agreement on the Readmission of Illegally Residing Persons.
The myth that the EU forces Georgia to receive Syrian refugees was initially disseminated by a member of Democratic Movement – United Georgia, Dimitri Lortkipanidze, in 2016, when he connected such requirement with the Readmission Agreement.
Such message was also disseminated by the Leader of the Alliance of Patriots on air at TV Imedi program Against (“Pirispir”) on February 20, 2018. Inashvili, while assessing the visa liberalization, stated that 30-35 thousand citizens left the territory of Georgia, while double that number entered Georgia from Asian countries. As she explained, this was directly connected to the visa liberalization, as the people coming from Asia force Georgian nationals to leave the country. Actually, of those 160,000 people that benefitted from visa liberalization, only 10,000 citizens did not return to Georgia after the expiration of the 90-day term.
As a propaganda method, Ad Nauseam approach is used. Ad nauseum approach means tireless repetition of an idea. This may be a simple idea or a simple slogan that is repeated so often that people begin to take it as the truth.