Disinfo: Anti-Russian protests in Georgia provoked by the George Soros' Open Society Foundation

Summary

The foundation of the well-known philanthropist George Soros Open Society is to blame for the anti-Russian protests in Georgia. On 20 June, the organisation openly called on Georgians to protest. After that, provocations against Russia began in Tbilisi.

Disproof

This is another conspiracy theory followed by the Russian media. Western non-governmental organisations are often targeted by pro-Kremlin disinformation. Propaganda often accuses George Soros of organising anti-Russian protests because of his support for democracy and human rights in dozens of countries around the world. Protests in Georgia began on the night of 21 June; discontent in Georgia was provoked by the visit of a Russian delegation to Tbilisi to participate in the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly of Orthodoxy. Following this, indignant civilian activists who accused Russia of occupying Georgian territories gathered outside the Georgian parliament. The Soros Open Society Foundation has nothing to do with the protests in Tbilisi.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 157
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 05/07/2019
  • Outlet language(s) Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Georgia
  • Keywords: Provocation, Protest, George Soros
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Accusations against Russia aim to “demonise” it

Russia, unlike Washington and its allies, has not interfered and is not going to interfere in the internal affairs of either the EU or other countries of the world. The accusations of the US and the EU against Russia are absurd and unsubstantiated. Despite suspicions about the “Russian interference” in the US presidential election, the Americans could not find concrete evidence. The sanctions against Moscow imposed because of these accusations still remain in force. The main purpose of these accusations is to “demonise” Russia in the eyes of Europeans.

Disproof

Attempts of election meddling by Russia are already well documented. Investigations were conducted by the authorities of various countries, for example, Parliament's committee (UK). Numerous investigations have provided convincing evidence of Russian interference in the Brexit referendum and in elections across Europe and in the US. Thus, in the US, 126 million people were reached on social media by Russia-linked users, 29 million of them have seen the content "directly". See more information here, here and here. Russian meddling in the 2016 election was established by US intelligence agencies before the publication of the Mueller report. Robert Mueller’s investigation decisively concluded that Russia interfered in the 2016 election. Specifically, Mueller's report declared that there were "two main Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election", where the first one is the Internet Research Agency's disinformation campaign and social media operations to disrupt the election, and the second one is the Russian government's hacking operations against the Clinton campaign and Democratic Party organisations. The findings of the Mueller investigation have led to US senators' proposals to extend sanctions on Russia to deter further election meddling attempts. For a similar case see here. Other cases about Russia's interference can be consulted here. Ahead of the European elections 2019, Microsoft registered cyberattacks targeting think tanks and non-profit organisations working on topics related to democracy, electoral integrity, and public policy, that are often in contact with government officials. Microsoft continues to investigate the source of these attacks but is confident that many of them originated from a group called Strontium, also known as APT 28 or Fancy Bear – which is believed to be associated with Russia’s military intelligence agency, the GRU. Read more here. Furthermore, the report on the implementation of the Action Plan Against Disinformation made clear that "the evidence collected revealed a continued and sustained disinformation activity by Russian sources aiming to suppress turnout and influence voter preferences”. An overview of Russia's methods of electoral interference is here, and case studies are available here and here.

New head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, refuses to fight separatism in the EU

In his new position as High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs, Spain’s interim Foreign Minister Josep Borrell refuses to fight separatism in the EU. In an interview with the Spanish public national radio (RNE), he affirmed that his job “won’t be” to confront pro-independence positions.

Disproof

This is a distortion of Josep Borrell’s statement. In the radio interview he was clearly talking about separatism in Catalonia. In the Sputnik article, it is ambiguously presented as a statement about separatist movement in general, inside the European Union. Mr Borrell also said that confronting pro-independence Catalan movement was not part of his new job, because “it is an internal problem of a member country”. Borrell’s exact words [in Spanish] were: “This is not a role for the High Representative of the European Union in Foreign Affairs,” adding that in such a position, Catalonia “will be a marginal question” for his duties. Affirming that he “refuses” to address this question is a gross manipulation of the truth. See here and here for other examples of disinformation narratives about the European Union and separatism.

Washington uses religious sects for destructive purposes

In recent years, the United States has become particularly active in expanding the activities of its religious sects to other states, thus undermining the religious foundation of other societies. Moreover, those sects have played a major role in the intensification of protest activities in a number of coup d’etat attempts across the globe over the years. One can find a number of curious revelations about the role that religious sects played in assisting the CIA across the EU and the US.

Disproof

No evidence given. Conspiracy theory and recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Western attempts to instigate colour revolutions in EU neighbourhood. This narrative is also consistent with a narrative about "The West" challenging traditional values. Similar cases, where US is accused of attacking traditional values in Europe through "sects" can be found here, here and here.