Discrediting messages spread on Facebook December 9 - 15
Anti-opposition pages and fake accounts’ demand to release the footage of Mikheil Saakashvili in prison and coordinated response to the leaked video
On December 14, the special penitentiary service made public the video footage of Mikheil Saakashvili, who was in "Vivamedi" clinic. The tape depicting him was posted on the Facebook page of the Special Penitentiary Service. Before the release of the footage, the Minister of Justice of Georgia, Rati Bregadze, publicly stated that "if the simulation actions, which aim to put pressure on the court, were not stopped, they would be forced to release certain footage". The mentioned statement was followed by the activity of pages and accounts operating against the opposition on Facebook, which shared the desire to make Mikheil Saakashvili's video public and called on the public to demand it. They addressed the mentioned message mainly to the supporters of the ruling party and targeted pro-government groups on Facebook.
Photo 1. Post of Facebook page Reality: “Misha's simulated shots from the clinic should be made public”
The executive director of the internet publication Lideri.ge, Gela Zedelashvili, shared the statement of the Minister of Justice, along with the request to make the video public. The mentioned post was shared to 15 pro-government groups at the same time by an inauthentic account apparently associated with the Lideri.ge. In order to hide identity, an account named Taso Xunturi steals photos from American singer Alina Baraz, who has a verified profile on Facebook.
Photo 2: Fake account of Taso Xunturi
Photo 3: Authentic verified account
Photo 4: An example of a post shared by a fake account in a pro-government Facebook group Taso Xunturi shared Gela Zedelashvili’s post.
(Text in the photo) Look, the Minister of Justice said that we are dealing with a simulation. Rati Bregadze: if the simulation actions aimed at putting pressure on the court are not stopped, we will be forced to make certain footage public. It turns out that Mikheils Saakashvili is an official "simulant", falsifier. If everything is so, then the truth must be made public. Let the public see how a patient, who have sneaked into Georgia, lies. You probably remember that he "starved" for 50 days eating expensive porridges. Now it turns out that he smokes electronic cigarettes and smokes so much that he is epxeriencing “peredozirovka” (overdose). The doctors said: Oh boy, it's a cigarette, not Bella's cake. It seems, he cried with Shalva Khachapuridze. He was like “they don't let me smoke anymore, they are literally torturing me”. So, he believed that not smoking is a torture.
Photo 5: Taso Xunturi shared the post of Zegela Zedelashvili to Facebook groups.
The same strategy was used by the Levan Guruli account, which is also the administrator of Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili's support groups. In those groups he shared a post published on an anonymous page with the caption: The footage of the death party founder's simulation has been released!
Photo 6: A post shared to the group "Supporters of Irakli Garibashvili" (Text in the photo) Make public the footage of the death party founder's simulation.
Photo 7: Administrator of the group of supporters of Irakli Garibashvili
Photo 8: The post requesting the release of the footage shared from the Facebook page named "Party of Death”.
Vato Shakarishvili's and Gia Gachechiladze's pages named “We will not let you mess it up” also circulated posts requesting the release of the footage. Through a fake account operating under the name of Nini Darcmelidze, the post was distributed to 5 Facebook groups of different content, with an average of 268,800 members.
Photo 9: Nini Darcmelidze sharing the post of the page "we will not let you mess it up" in Facebook groups.
Posts depicting the shots were also shared by other anonymous pages and profiles operating against the opposition on Facebook, including: "Sarcastic People", "Mikheil Ukrainologi", "Party of Death", "Reality", "Spiritual Mission of Georgia", "Terenti Gldaneli", "Corridor of Shame" , "Political absurdity", "Pearls of Georgian journalism / journalist fails".
The leaked footage was published on the pages with mocking messages towards Mikheil Saakashvili. Usually, he was accused of faking illness. At the same time, part of the pages focused on the shot where it is seen how the former president receives food and they presented it as proof that the rumors about Saakashvili's difficulty in getting food are false. Mikheil Saakashvili's behavior towards the staff of "Vivamed" clinic was also emphasized in the posts.
Anti-government messages regarding the publication of Mikheil Saakashvili's video footage.
After the video footage of the imprisoned ex-president was publicly distributed, messages against the government and against the ruling party were shared on pro-opposition pages. In the media, government representatives were presented as ruled by Russia, specifically by Putin. The disclosure of Saakashvili's cadres were associated with Putin's orders.
Photo 10: Qocoba Texavs
(text in the photo) Putin's slave ****** Bidzina once again violated human rights and released footage of Misha without the consent of the third president.
Pages operating against the opposition against Nino Lomjaria
Some of the anti-opposition Facebook pages devoted the posts to the end of Nino Lomjaria's trial as an ombudsman. Lomjaria was mentioned as the "personal defender" of "United National Movement", Mikheil Saakashvili and "agent of a foreign country". In order to discredit her, the photo taken with the employees of the Public Defender's Office, which Lomjaria published on her personal Facebook page, was also distributed.
Photo 11: Reality
(Text in the photo) A defender of UNM followers, a supporter of criminals and an agent of a foreign country, Lomjaria. She was the first and only human rights defender in the world who was cursed by prisoners from prison.
Messages against Mikheil Saakashili regarding getting a stomach resection surgery before entering Georgia
In order to discredit Mikheil Saakashvili, posts were published on fake media pages, Facebook page "POSTV-News" and on anonymous pages operating against the oposition, claiming that he received a stomach resection surgery before coming to Georgia in 2021, which is the reason for his weight loss. Pro-government experts and members of the public movement "People's Power" spread identical messages on the mentioned topic.
Photo 12. Guria Times:
(Text in the photo) Tamta Megrelishvili: As early as November 5, 2021, I wrote that Mikheil Saakashvili underwent a stomach resection before coming to Georgia. The operation was performed on September 23 in Holland.
Tamta Megrelishvili, a member of “People’s Power”, responds to the information about Mikheil Saakashvili's health on social networks.
“As early as November 5, 2021, I wrote that Mikheil Saakashvili underwent a stomach resection before coming to Georgia. The operation was performed on September 23 in Holland. Mikheil Saakashvili is not starving, but he is unable to eat” – Tamta Megrelishvili writes
Photo 13. Political Absurd
(Text in the photo) One month before his arrival in Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili had a stomach reduction operation at Akaha clinic in Vienna, with surgeon Soso Nanobashvili. The purpose of this operation is weight loss. After surgery, a diet is prescribed, and therefore, the patient cannot eat everything. From the interviews of Mikheil Saakashvili's lawyers and family members, we learn exactly the same information that Saakashvili eats only selectively. This agitation, as if Mikheil Saakshvili has lost weight dramatically, is manipulative, the reason for his thinness is a surgery.
About weekly review
Within the social media monitoring ISFED presents the weekly overview and describes the messages that echo the political issues, virally Circulates on social networks (more or less) during the week, and more than one actor, account or page is involved in its distribution. In certain cases, the most interactive posts of the week are presented.
The organization uses the Facebook monitoring tool- Crowdtangle - for data processing and relies on an existing, up-to-date database of pages/accounts involved in discrediting campaigns.
The pages are available on the platform - www.disinfoobserver.ge
The social media monitoring program of the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) is supported by the European Endowment for Democracy (EED). This publication is solely owned by ISFED and may not reflect the views of the donor.