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Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili accused Russia of another attempt to discredit Georgia, undermine its relations with strategic partners and provoke anti-Western sentiment among the population.
“Another attempt by the Russian side to discredit the relations between the Georgian authorities and the country’s strategic partners at the international level is outrageous. By spreading false information, the Russian side is also trying to arouse mistrust among the Georgian people in the authorities, inflame anti-Western sentiments and arouse expectations of false threats from friends and neighboring countries, “- this is how the President of Georgia commented on the information spread in the Russian media the day before allegedly, at the request of the EU, Georgia agreed to place camps for refugees from the Middle East on its territory.
The Russian media also published a photo of the corresponding “letter” that the Vice-President of the European Commission Margaritis Shinas allegedly sent to the President of Georgia Salome Zurabishvili. Georgian President says this so-called letter is fake.
“I call on our partners in the European Union to resolutely condemn such provocative attempts by the Russian side, which are aimed at creating obstacles to the development of relations between Georgia and the EU,” the President of Georgia said..
Cyberattack and “Newbie”
A few days ago, Salome Zurabishvili also mentioned Russia in her statement on the September 1 cyberattack against the databases of the central office of the Georgian Ministry of Health, as well as the Richard Lugar Public Health Research Center. The President did not rule out that the cyber attack was related to the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.
According to Zurabishvili, the cyberattack on the center, which plays a leading role in Georgia’s fight against the coronavirus, is an inhuman move and also represents “another attempt to intimidate Georgia.”.
“At the same time, the timing of the cyberattack and those unstable hints and attempts by the Russian side to avoid responsibility for the origin of the substance used in the poisoning of Alexei Navalny are questionable,” Zurabishvili said in a September 4 statement..
It is noteworthy that after Germany announced the presence in the body of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who is undergoing treatment in Germany, a nerve agent of the Novichok group, Yuri Shvytkin, Deputy Chairman of the Russian State Duma Defense Committee, made accusations against the Lugar Center.
“We do not manufacture such chemicals on our territory. As far as there is information, such weapons, such chemical poisonous substances, are available on the territory of Georgia from the United States, in the laboratory, and in the United States of America, “Shvytkin said on September 2.
Recall that in recent years, Russian official structures, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Defense, periodically make statements that the United States is allegedly developing chemical and biological weapons at the Lugar Health Center, as well as conducting experiments on people. The US and Georgia have repeatedly denied these accusations, calling them “the product of Russia’s ingenious and false disinformation campaign against the West.”.
It is noteworthy that all tests of Georgian citizens for the new coronavirus infection COVID-19 are carried out at the Lugar Center. Since May 2013, this laboratory, in which the United States has invested about $ 350 million, ceased to be an independent body and came under the control of the Georgian Ministry of Health. The center conducts research on various viral and dangerous infections, influenza, bacterial infections, as well as decoding the genome.
Political blog Alexander Mikiashvili noted in a commentary for the Russian service of the Voice of America that the spread of disinformation, as well as the implementation of cyber attacks are components of the “multi-component hybrid war” that Russia is waging against Georgia.
The expert named the main messages typical for Russian propaganda. According to him, this is the spread of an irrational fear among the population that, in return for rapprochement, Western partners will demand that Georgia settle refugees on its territory, legalize same-sex marriage, abandon religion and traditions..
“The main thing is that the key propaganda messages of Russia have been deciphered and identified by both local and international researchers, but, apparently, they work better than others, and Russian propagandists without hesitation continue to appeal to them to foment anti-Western sentiments among the population,” he said. Mikiashvili.
Russia accused of spreading coronavirus disinformation
Nika Chitadze, head of the Center for the Study of Security and International Relations, believes that against the background of the Russian occupation and the current Cold War with Russia, the Georgian authorities should be “fully prepared” and more actively identify Russian propaganda, as well as ensure greater protection of important cyber resources.
“It is necessary to conduct continuous work and counter the propaganda with facts in order to minimize the number of people who may fall under the influence of Russian disinformation. Of course, this is not easy, as well as achieving complete cybersecurity, but it is still desirable to see more activity on the part of the relevant Georgian authorities, “Chitadze summed up..