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President Margvelashvili: Consolidation of International Partners and Georgian Society Is Essential to Fight Russian Propaganda

Information credibility and mechanisms for fighting misinformation were the major topics raised at the international conference organized by NDI and CRRC. President of Georgia, H.E. Giorgi Margvelashvili has opened the conference and addressed the audience.
As he pointed out, Georgia is one of the first countries against which Russia has initiated a hybrid war, strengthened propaganda and cyber-attacks since the very first days of the collapse of the Soviet Union. 
President Margvelashvili believes that Georgian society has shown exemplary sustainability during the last quarter-century. Georgian society has also learned from own mistakes. In this context, as President Margvelashvili highlighted, Russian hybrid threat and propaganda have not been weakened, but on the contrary, have taken a more advanced form.
“Our Western colleagues state that this threat has also affected their territories. This makes it clear that propaganda is spread to new spaces, new platforms in the information field, be it traditional media and means of communication, or recently-formed spaces that have emerged in the last quarter-century,” President Margvelashvili said, adding that in the context of the hybrid war, Georgian society has always been consolidated by the main course, the Western course and Euro-Atlantic choice.
"Georgian society is consolidated; however, we should also realize that the forms of confrontation are further developed. Propaganda is and has always been working according to the classical principle: discovery of a real fact, its exaggeration and constant circulation and division of a society on the basis of this partially factual information.
This is a classic method according to which propaganda has always been working from the Soviet times to the current reality," President Margvelashvili noted, highlighting that this process should be confronted by freedom and right to freedom of opinion and expression.
"In contrast to the totalitarian society, we act in a free space. Therefore, our battlefield should be free. We should win this battle, instead of restricting news sources. Secondly, we have to fight using the main weapon, truth. The truth is confirmed by facts and precise demonstration of the picture at large.
Once again, propaganda never starts from scratch. Propaganda is initiated based on a concrete fact and its exaggeration; while the truth begins with recognition of this fact and then demonstration of the entire picture," President Margvelashvili said.
For this, President Margvelashvili believes that propaganda should be boldly recognized as propaganda.
"In this regard, further consolidation of not only specific societies and informational spaces, but the entire international community is extremely important.
Our partners have been strenuously working in this direction and we believe that we should be very actively engaged in this process, considering that we are objects of Russian propaganda, successfully resisting it for twenty-five years,” President Margvelashvili stated, emphasizing the simple content of the Russian propaganda against Georgia, focusing on impossibility of Georgia’s Western course.
"We have enough to respond to these topics. We can clearly show disastrous consequences of accepting or sharing this theory. Firstly, propaganda should be recognized and named propaganda; secondly, we should demonstrate the intention of deceiving Georgian citizens as if Georgian culture and identity are incompatible with that of European; thirdly, we should show the picture at large, the situation that aims at distancing Georgia from the Western world and its gradual return in the Russian Empire,” President Margvelashvili concluded.
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