Politics

From Supporting Gakharia to Solidarity with Melia and 16 Trolls against Ex-PM

26 February, 2021

Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia’s February 18 statement about resignation has triggered mixed reactions in the public and caused confusion among government officials and political experts. There were no signs of a clear discrediting campaign against Giorgi Gakharia, but part of government trolls tried to slam his decision as an irresponsible, perfidious act that strengthens the United National Movement’s (UNM) positions.

A hashtag #მემხარსვუჭერგიორგიგახარიას (I support Giorgi Gakharia) emerged on social media following Gakharia’s resignation; in addition, new accounts (გახარიას პარტიის მხარდამჭერები (Supporters of Gakharia’s Party), გახარია დაბრუნდეს (Let Gakharia Return)) and public groups supporting the former Prime Minister were created, which were actively sharing information about Gakharia’s alleged plans to set up a new party and get established as the third force. The group “ჩვენი მხარდაჭერა გახარიას!” (Our Support to Gakharia) initially shared satirical posts, but as of February 22, it has mobilized 2,000 supporters from newly created groups. In most cases, these groups are administered by fake accounts.

Nine new groups (as of now, one of them has been deleted and another has changed its name) supporting Giorgi Gakharia have been created since February 18. It is noteworthy that one of the groups of supporters (the group of supporters of Giorgi Gakharia), which was created on February 20 and gathered 1,100 members, changed its name to “Solidarity with Nika Melia” on February 23. Later the same day, the group again changed its name to პოლიტNews.

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Group

Admins

ჩვენი მხარდაჭერა გახარიას ! (Our support to Gakharia) was created on 18 February 2021

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Fake accounts: Maria Smith, სისონა დარჩია

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გიორგი გახარიას მხარდამჭერების ჯგუფი (Group of Supporters of Giorgi Gakharia) was created on 20 February 2021. On February 23, the group changed its name twice: first, it was named Solidarity with Nika Melia and then it became პოლიტNews.

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Fake accounts: Vakhtang Kvaratskhelia, თინა კანდელაკი 

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After changing the name, number of admins decreased by one.
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გიორგი გახარიას მხარდამჭერები (Supporters of Giorgi Gakharia) was created on 18 February 2021

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Fake accounts: Lasha Jugeli, Qeti Beridze– newly created profile, steals the photo used by many users of social media.
ზაქარია ბარნაბიშვილი - a newly created profile.
თამარ ალასანია - does not post any identification photos.
ლეილა ცინაძე-მელიქიძე -supporter of Bidzina Ivanishvili and Giorgi Gakharia.

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გახარია დაბრუნდი ! (Gakharia Return) was created on 18 February 2021

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Fake account: მარიამ წიკალური - the profile URL includes the name samzareuloschurcheli,

ნათია ნათია
Fake account

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გახარია ❤️ (Gakharia❤) was created on 18 February 2021

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ნატა ფაღავა - newly created account, the profile URL includes the name giorgi.oragvelidze

Giorgi Tughushi

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მხარდაჭერა გიორგი გახარიას (Support to Giorgi Gakharia) was created on 18 February 2021
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Giorgi Kemularia It is impossible to identify the person according to the profile photo
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გახარიას გუნდი (Gakharia’s team) was created on 22 February 2021. As of February 25, the group has been deleted.
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თიკა გურული
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დაბრუნდეს გიორგი გახარია (Let Giorgi Gakharia Return) was created on 24 February 2021
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Salli Bagrationi
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გახარიას ფანები (Gakharia’s fans) was created on 19 February 2021;

Alexander Patsatsia;

Sponsored post as if Gakharia was forgiven the June 20 developments

Apart from public groups, on February 21, Facebook page “IPhone თაობა” (IPhone Generation) posted the photos depicting ex-PM Giorgi Gakharia and UNM leader Nika Melia with a misleading caption that leaves an impression that Gakharia was forgiven the June 20 developments for not detaining Melia. It, however, is not clear who the author of the following text is: “Many thanks to Gakharia for saving Nika Melia. By this, he was forgiven the sin of June 20! I forgive Gakharia the June 20 developments! Share!” The post, which has triggered mixed reactions, is sponsored and as of 11am, February 22, it has 90 shares and over 68,000 views.

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page IPhone Generation was created on 10 September 2018. It runs the group with the same name; the latter has shared the same photo. page has over 13,000 followers; it mainly posts memes and entertaining videos. Moreover, it has shared the posts discrediting the opposition and supporting the ruling party. The page mainly publishes mixed content, but except for the post related to Gakharia, no other sponsored posts can be searched in Facebook’s Ad Library.

Fake account spreads information about setting up a new party

Fake account მარიამ შონია (the profile URL includes the name george.aysga) shares information about Giorgi Gakharia allegedly planning to set up a new party to the group Umedia from a clickbait site (Gifsat.com) with Moscow indicated as its IP location.

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Umedia regularly spreads various information and supportive posts about Giorgi Gakharia, Bidzina Ivanishvili and their family members.

Trolls

Myth Detector has identified 16 trolls who slam Giorgi Gakharia’s decision as avoiding responsibility, on the one hand, and strengthening the National Movement’s positions, on the other.

  • Five out of 16 trolls who hide their identities have indicated changed names in the profile URL.
  • 11 out of 16 trolls have liked the pages of POSTV, a government-affiliated television channel supporting the ruling Georgian Dream party.

Fake account

Information about the account

1.Zuria Zuria

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Hides identity, has liked the pages supporting Georgian Dream

2.ნინიკო ნინო

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Hides identity, has liked the pages of Georgian Dream’s majoritarian MP candidates

3.მე ვარ ეგმა
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Hides identity, has liked the pages of Bidzina Ivanishvili and Kakha Kaladze

4.Sonderverband Bergmann
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Does not share any identification information

5.Dato davita
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A newly created profile shares the 1938 map of David Gareji, hides identity, has liked the pages of Georgian and Russian news agencies

 

6.Nina Maisuradze
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Hides identity, has 12 friends, has liked the pages of pro-government media (Shalva Ramishvili, POSTV), as well as leaders of Georgian Dream

7.Tim Sock
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Hides identity, does not publish any identification information

8.Vek Una
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Hides identity, has liked POSTV

9.არსენა ოძელაშვილი
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Has four friends, does not publish any identification information

 

10.Toma Amilaxvari
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Hides identity, has three friends

11.Sandro Gegejkori
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Hides identity, newly created profile, has liked four pages: POSTV - ანალიტიკა, POSTV, Kakha Kaladze კახა კალაძე, ქართული ოცნება / Georgian Dream

12.Charli Gordon
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Does not publish personal photos, profile URL includes the name ermenegildo.zegna

13.Mate Kaflanishvili
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It is impossible to identify the person with a profile photo; profile URL contains the name simon.svimon. Მ has liked several government and opposition pages

14.გრიშა გელოვანი
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Hides identity, profile URL includes the name mzisa.damtvarisa; has liked the pages of news agencies and government

15.მაიკო ცაგურია
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Hides identity, profile URL includes the name baskantera, has liked the pages of Georgian Dream

16.Giorgi Arveladze
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Profile URL includes the name interviu.yvelastan; shared the post supporting Gakharia to the groups: დავასრულოთ ნაცები - Davasrulot Nacebi !!! (Let’s finish the National Movement) and ბიძინა ივანიშვილის მეგობრები "ფეისბუქზე" (Bidzina Ivanishvili’s friends on Facebook).
In November 2020, the profile was involved in the campaign discrediting election protests


Trolls were criticizing Gakharia for his decision to resign and were expressing support to the government. Some of them supposed that Gakharia’s step was equal to restoration of the UNM party’s positions, claiming that it would harm justice.

Like trolls, part of pro-government media outlets and experts also slammed Gakharia’s resignation as betrayal and striking a deal with the National Movement:

Gela Zedelashvili’s comment about the deal between Giorgi Gakharia and the National Movement was shared by the page “ერთიანი ცინიკური მოძრაობა” (United Cynical Movement), while the anti-opposition pages “სექტა” (Sect) and “საქართველოს ოკუპირებული ტერიტორიები” (The Occupied Territories of Georgia) assessed Gakharia’s resignation as ceding positions to “criminals like Melia” and “getting into the National Movement’s boat:”

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Prepared by Ani Kistauri