Disinfo: Georgia does not benefit from free trade agreement with EU

Summary

The signing in September 2014 of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) with the EU has not benefited Georgia, which remains reliant on the post-Soviet market for its exports. Exports to the DCFTA countries have not increased.

Disproof

According to DCFTA.gov.ge, a website run by the Georgian Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development and dedicated to the agreement-related developments, export from Georgia to the EU in 2018 increased by 11.5% compared to 2017 and accounted for 21.7% of the country’s total exports. Agricultural exports increased by 6% from 2017, and industrial exports by 13%. The overview on the website of the Georgian edition of the Forbes magazine states that in January-June 2018, Georgia’s exports to the EU exceeded exports to Russia by 80%. In the same period, Georgian exports to the EU grew by 21%, to Russia – by 10%. From 2004 to 2018, Georgia consistently exported more to the EU than to Russia. In 2007-2017, 3.5 times more products ($3.6 billion more) were exported to the EU than to Russia. Critique of the DCFTA is a long-standing narrative forming part of the Russian propaganda effort aiming to persuade Georgians that greater benefits are to be reaped from closer integration with Russia than with the EU. See further debunk by Myth Detector here.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 145
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 20/03/2019
  • Outlet language(s) Georgian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Georgia
  • Keywords: economy, European Union, AA/DCFTA
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EU refuses to admit that Russian border guards prevented the armed conflict that Kyiv was trying to unleash

The EU included eight Russians in the sanctions list due to the incident that occurred in the Kerch Strait on 25 November 2018. Ukrainian ships staged a provocation in the territorial waters of Russia and were detained by the FSB border guard service. The EU refuses to admit that Russian border guards prevented the armed conflict that Kyiv was trying to unleash.

Disproof

No evidence given. This is one of the main narratives of the Kremlin propaganda about the Azov Sea incident. According to Bellingcat, the Russian Navy vessels first rammed and then, later, fired on and captured three Ukrainian Navy vessels. This marked the first time Russian-flagged military units had officially attacked those of Ukraine. Official statements from the US Department of State confirm the same, claiming that this incident represents a dangerous escalation and a violation of international law. A bilateral treaty between Russia and Ukraine, signed in 2003 and ratified by Russia in 2004, governs the use of the Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov, which in the treaty are considered to be the “internal waters” of both Russia and Ukraine. See more disinfo cases on the Kerch Strait incident: here and here.

The Atlantic Council is a NATO propaganda organisation

Facebook turned to the Atlantic Council, which is an organisation for NATO propaganda, for services to identify fake pages.

Disproof

No evidence provided. Recurring pro-Kremlin conspiracy about US and social media. The Atlantic Council is an international think tank that is registered as a nonprofit organisation. The policy of the Atlantic Council also includes intellectual independence. One of the paragraphs of this policy details how the organisation must not adopt or advocate positions on particular matters.

Facebook alone decides which pages break its rules, with input from various research partners, as they explained in January 2019 when removing hundreds of Russian-linked pages.

The West does not call the New Zealand mosque attacks terrorism

In New Zealand, the terrorist attack was targeted at Muslims, specifically on religious grounds. There is a tradition in the West that if an immoral event is committed by a non-Muslim, it is merely a crime, but if the same incident is committed by a Muslim, then the whole world is upset and claims Muslims to be terrorists.

Disproof

New Zealand's Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern,'met with members of the Muslim community affected by the attack' and stated, 'He [the killer] is a terrorist; he is a criminal; he is an extremist. But he will, when I speak, be nameless' as a method of not giving fame and respect to the attacker. Instead she focussed on the victims and their families, showing solidarity and empathy. The New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs released a message that said 'people who share video of the mosque shooting online “are likely to be committing an offence”' and worked hard with 'social media platforms to remove the clips' in order to show respect to the victims and their families. The majority of major Western media companies followed this request and did not show the footage from the massacre. However, a Russian state TV channel broadcast the footage and compared the shooter to 'Ukrainian nationalists'. On 15 March, the European Union published statements offering 'sincerest condolences to the loved ones of the victims and the community as a whole' as well as support for New Zealand 'including by strengthening cooperation on counter-terrorism.' There are numerous articles from major Western media depicting the incident as a terrorist attack whilst people across the world are upset and express their condolences. The day after the attack, the BBC published an article entitled 'How young people are responding to the New Zealand terror attack' whilst the Wall Street Journal explicitly stated that the 'New Zealand mosque shootings called a Terrorist Attack'. See video on how Russian state TV exploits the terror attack in New Zealand to spread disinformation.