On February 27, 2018, “Georgian Force” (Kartuli Dzala) posted a video on its Facebook page, which shows a woman who is going down a stair in an underground station being kicked in the back by a man and subsequently rolling down the stairway, while the perpetrator then proceeds to leave the scene with three companions. The video was accompanied by the text: “Afghan migrants gives the boot to a German woman and rolls her down a staircase just to have fun. Let us be understanding, have tolerance and everything.”
The uploaded video has 12 thousand views and 255 shares (As of March 1, 2018) and caused xenophobic and anti-Western comments among the users of the social network.
Information disseminated by “Georgian force” is manipulative because the published material presents an incident that took place on October 27, 2016 in the Berlin metropolitan, in which the attacker was not an Afghan migrant but a former convict, 27-year-old Svetoslav Stoyikov from Bulgaria.
After verifying video footage in Google reverse image search engine, it was ascertained that the incident took place in Berlin on 27th October 2016. The act of violence was recorded by the video surveillance system installed throughout the metro station, upon which the Berlin police launched an investigation. The video was released in December 2016 and caused widespread outcry. Initially media reported, that the attacker was an asylum seeker, and this misinformation was used on social media to criticize migration policy in Germany.
On December 17, 2016, German “Deutsche Welle” reported that the Berlin Police had apprehended the crime-suspect. According to the Bulgarian newspaper “Nova”, the attacker was from Varna, Bulgaria and was a construction worker in Berlin. In addition, he was convicted of stealing, robbery and hooliganism in the past.
The video manipulation spread by “Georgian Force” wishes to portray migrants as offenders and seeks to instigate hateful and xenophobic sentiments in society. The ultra-right nationalist Facebook pages make special emphasis on Germany in this regard as a country where asylum seekers threaten the national identity. On June 29th, 2017, a video with similar messages was posted by Facebook page Antiliberal Channel, which was a fabrication containing 13 different episodes, with most of the footage shown having no connection whatsoever with Germany.
Prepared by Irakli Iagorashvili
Myth Detector Laboratory