Disinfo: Western media portrayed burning Tskhinvali as footage of "Russia bombing the Georgian city of Gori"


Nikolay Baranov, former producer of Russia Today, recalled the footage of the burning Tskhinvali, which the Western media portrayed as footage of "Russia bombing the Georgian city of Gori." This footage was filmed by his film crew.

“I lived in Gori for two days, nothing burned there. It is not true. Gori was absolutely calm, people, of course, were worried, some were offended that the Russian TV company was in Gori, and the Russians were protecting Tskhinvali at that time, but nothing was burning in Gori,” said Baranov.


A recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation trying to deny any role for Russia, blaming Georgia and its political leadership for the Russo-Georgian war of 2008 which resulted in the further occupation of South Ossetia and Abkhazia by additional military forces from Russia timed around the 13th anniversary of the conflict.

Western media has never presented burning Tskhinvali as the city of Gori. Contrary to the claim, pro-Kremlin media have repeatedly presented the bombed city of Gori as the occupied Tskhinvali in order to advance their narrative that it was Georgia, and not Russia, who started the war in August 2008 against South Ossetia by attacking peaceful Tskhinvali at night. See similar case here.

The destruction of residential buildings with Russian bombs and the photo of wounded Sophio Muradov with the flaming buildings in the background became a point of interest of the international media the same day it happened. It became the symbol of the aggression carried out by Russia in Georgia. In total, the Russian bombings of residential buildings on August 9, 2008 killed 15 people.

On August 8, 2018, a Russian TV channel НТВ broadcasted the video showing footage with Sophio Muradov, wounded during the bombings of residential buildings in Gori by the Russian Air Forces on August 9, 2008, and presented the given footage to falsely illustrate the attack on Tskhinvali by the Georgian side.

Previously, on August 10, 2008, pro-Kremlin media outlets disseminated materials that allegedly proved that the footage of the Gori bombings were fake. Read the full debunk at Myth Detector.


  • Reported in: Issue 255
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 08/08/2021
  • Article language(s) Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Georgia, Georgian region of South Ossetia, Russia
  • Keywords: Media, Russo-Georgian War, South Ossetia
see more

Disinfo: West wages deliberate campaign against Sputnik V

The West is waging a deliberate campaign against Russia’s Sputnik V anti-COVID vaccine. It refuses to admit that Russia’s research can help ensure health and well-being for the whole of mankind.


This is a recurring disinformation narrative from pro-Kremlin outlets, trying to portray Russia's Sputnik V vaccine as the best in the world and accusing the West of having a prejudiced attitude towards it.

Russia's claim about the allegedly high efficacy of Sputnik V is based on an article from The Lancet which was published in February 2021. It asserted that Sputnik V’s efficacy was 91.6 per cent without considerable side effects. The article seemed to be a study carried out mostly by Russian experts. There are some doubts as to Sputnik V’s efficacy, especially where the trial procedures are concerned (see here and here).

Disinfo: Riga, Tallinn and Warsaw develop anti-Russian “information weapons”

The anti-Russian "information weapon" is being created in Warsaw. The anti-Russian propaganda centres operate in Riga, Tallinn and Warsaw, where dozens of specialists are being prepared every quarter. Today, information is one of the weapon types.

Propaganda strategy centres were set up in Riga, Tallinn and Warsaw. The information weapons are being developed there – they will be introduced and spread in Russia. Among other activities, these centres spread numerous unpleasant rumours. There is not a single similar centre in Russia, which would train specialists in information attacks. At the same time, there are several centres in Europe that train Russian citizens to be such specialists.


A recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative accusing the West of “hostile and aggressive anti-Russian actions”.

The claim that Poland, Latvia and Estonia created anti-Russian propaganda centres involved in the development of the anti-Russian “information weapons” is not supported by evidence.

Disinfo: Referendum in Crimea was held in strict accordance with international law

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that the new authorities and residents will never love Crimea as much as Ukrainians do, and Crimea will never be Russian. Zelenskyy promised that the return of the peninsula is only a matter of time.

The Russian side has repeatedly stressed that the Crimea issue is closed for Russia, and the referendum on the peninsula was held in strict accordance with international law.


Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014.

No international body recognises the so-called referendum in Crimea. The UN General Assembly adopted a resolution entitled “Territorial integrity of Ukraine”, stating that the referendum in Crimea was not valid and could not serve as a basis for any change in the status of the peninsula. On 17 December 2018, the UN General Assembly confirmed its non-recognition of the illegal annexation of Crimea.