On November 23rd, the Facebook page Post tv-Analytics, online publications MarshallPress, TV Free and Facebook user Xuxutaishvili Irma posted a photo of a banner depicting the caricature of Mikheil Saakashvili. The inscription on the banner reads “Вышвырнули из ОДЕССЫ- Выдворим из УКРАИНЫ” [Kicked out from Odessa, we will kick him out from Ukraine as well] Marshall Press and TV Free published the materials with an identical headline, adding “Saakashvili’s caricature was hung in Odessa.” The published posts do not indicate the date when the banners were hung in Odessa.
The information about Saakashvili shown on the banners in Odessa is misleading. Banners against Mikheil Saakashvili were displayed in Odessa in November 2016 after Saakashvili left the position of governor of Odessa. Disseminating the information without indicating the date gives the impression that these banners are related to Saakashvili’s current imprisonment.
In March 2016, Dmitri Golubov, a member of the former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s party and a member of the 7th Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada, began collecting signatures demanding the resignation of the former Ukrainian Mikheil Saakashvili as governor of Odessa. Golubov’s campaign used the caricature of Mikheil Saakashvili. At Golubov’s initiative, tents decorated with the above-mentioned caricature were set up at 15 different locations in Odessa, where citizens could sign a petition demanding Saakashvili’s resignation.
In addition to tents, at the beginning of Golubov’s campaign, cars with caricature images were also moving across the streets of Odessa.
In March 2016, Mikheil Saakashvili’s caricature was accompanied by the following text: Выпрели из Твилиси – Вышвырнем из Одессы [Kicked out from Tbilisi, we will kick him out from Odessa as well).
On November 9th, 2016, Mikheil Saakashvili resigned as Governor of Odessa. At the end of November, banners identical to the ones disseminated in Georgia appeared in Odessa with the following inscriptions: “Вышвырнули из ОДЕССЫ- Выдворим из УКРАИНЫ!” (Kicked out from Odessa – will kick him out from Ukraine as well).
In the November 12th, 2016 article by the local edition of timer-odessa.net, we read that the campaign represented a continuation of Golubov’s initiative by Saakashvili’s opponents and that several banners of this kind have appeared in the city.
It should be noted that the design of the banners released in November 2016 differs from the previous version with minor visual and content details such as the background colour of the red caption and the texts on the banners.
Photo #1: Banner from March 2016 Photo #2: Banner from November 2016
On November 23rd, 2021, a photo of the banner used in November 2016 in Odessa was manipulatively spread in Georgia. The banner was distributed in November 2016 with a specific purpose and followed the resignation of Mikheil Saakashvili from being the Governor of Odessa. There is no information in the local media or other open-source in Odessa stating that an identical banner was displayed in November 2021 as well.
Noteworthy, no new information about publishing anti-Saakashvili banners can be found on Dmitri Golubov’s Facebook page. Before entering politics, Golubov wassuspected of cybercrime by the intelligence services of several countries, including the United States.
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