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Public Rhetoric of the Georgian Government - A Mini-Model of Russian Propaganda

This document reviews the techniques of persuasion of propaganda: Negative labeling (name calling) of unwanted subjects and groups and, in this way, creating an enemy icon; Ad nauseam technique, which involves the constant repetition of the same slogan or idea and tries to make the public believe even the most seemingly unbelievable lie; The generalization technique in which the whole cluster is negatively represented by generalizing a particular event, subject, or idea; The accusation of the accuser - the logic according to which the best defense - is an attack, and in this process, absurd lies and conspiracy theories are used, which is also referred to as huckster propaganda; Whataboutism - a technique that instead of answering complex questions either makes the opposite accusations or shifts the focus to another issue to avoid fair criticism; Bandwagon approach, which uses the following concept: "everyone does it." It also urges members of the public to join a mainstream opinion and follow the behaviors of the crowd; Inconsistency in positions - in which the distributor does not care much about the consistency of the messages and acts only out of practical need.

By reviewing relevant theory and practical examples, we can say that Russian propaganda makes good use of all the above methods. Russian propaganda is built on an entirely negative agenda. Its purpose is not to convince the public of its truth but to "brainwash" them, to sow fear and confusion. It creates the image of the enemy in the form of Western democracies and spreads absurd lies to cover up its inhumane actions. Russian propaganda is constantly "bombarding" the target audience with manipulative messages and is especially active during crises.

As the numerous examples in the document show, the rhetoric of the Government of Georgia is becoming increasingly similar to Russian propaganda. It, too, is primarily built on a negative agenda, creates icons of the enemy, and spreads many conspiracy theories to cover up its misdeeds. It should be noted that such campaigns are especially active during the pre-election period and various types of political or social crises. "Georgian Dream" party (which holds the majority in the parliament) is trying to discredit its opponents with different labels. A clear example of this is the label "War Party," initially thought of as the "National Movement," but is often used against other opposition parties. At the same time, the Public Defender, media, and all the actors who criticize the government are mentioned as supporters of the "War Party." For years, the government has been sowing fears that opposition parties are plotting a coup in the country. For example, the so-called "Tires Case," allegations of insurgency in the "Gavrilov’s Case," Irakli Kobakhidze's statement about the opposition's plan to oust the government in 2021, the “plan to open a second front in Georgia” during the Russia-Ukraine war, and so on. It is worth saying that none of the above cases have been investigated, which supports the argument that such statements were used solely for propaganda purposes. 

In addition to the above, the “Georgian Dream” uses the technique of counter-accusations when it becomes the object of criticism. Instead of talking about the challenges in the country, it reminds us of the vices of the previous government. For example, when speaking about the poverty in the country, problems in the judiciary, the safety of journalists, or fuel prices, the rhetoric of the "Georgian Dream" still recalls the problems of the previous government. At the same time, the "Georgian Dream" has been feeding voters with propaganda for the tenth year in a row. On the one hand, it says that the "National Movement" is a politically "bankrupt" party. On the other hand, before each election, the country's "strategic goal is to finish" the "National Movement." 

Finally, we can conclude that the public communication of the Government of Georgia, which carries out the most severe accusations against opponents and people with critical thinking in general, incites unfounded fears among the population, manipulates public sentiments, and sets a negative agenda, is unhealthy and dangerous. Such communication, like Russian propaganda, contributes to the division and disorientation of society.

Note: The full document is available only in Georgian.


Author(s)

Davit Kutidze