Margvelashvili: Wire Barbed Fences as a Propaganda Instrument
By Vladimer Napetvaridze
Thursday, February 8
On February 6, in the framework of the strategic discussion about the national security architecture held in Gori, President Giorgi Margvelashvili discussed important issues of the creeping occupation and Russian propaganda. According to him, the creeping occupation is not only for stealing Georgian land but also an attempt to transform the Georgian population’s attitudes. The creeping occupation is carried out slowly and gradually and aims at emotional breaking of Georgians, asserting Russian power and getting people used to the idea that the process is unavoidable.
“Why have they been imitating "interstate" contracts with the occupied regions since 2014? Because they have lost what is called the international community. Why are they installing new fences every day, when they can do this in one day? Because they want to, break us and insult us, and to persuade us that this is reality. Therefore, we should be aware of the thoughts of our opponent and always confront their actions," stated Margvelashvili.
The process of crawling occupation started in 2011 and continues gradually.
2011: 1 -September – villages Big Khurvaleti-1000 m. long barbed wire fences and Lower Nikozi – 3 km long barbed wire fences;
2012: 2- June Village Mejvriskhevi 800 m. long barbed wire fences;
2013: 3-Villages Mereti an Ksuishi – 4 km long barbed wire fences; 4-Villages: Dvani, Tamarasheni and Atotsi – 8 Km barbed wire fences; 5- 26 May (Independence Day of Georgia) – Village Dits? 1,5km long wire fences; 6- 3 Km barbed wire fences were installed in the villages- Knolevi, Avlevi and Tseronisi; 7- The village Bershueti- 1,3 Km fences were places. 8- Vilage Dirbi- 200m and Jariasheni – 700 m long wire fences; 9- Wire fences of the village Dvani and village Upper Nikozi were connected; Totally 12 km long. 10- November, wire fences were installed from the village Ditsi to the village Ergneti; 11)- Villages –Ghogheti – installation of 600m long fences; 12- Villages Koda and Tsnelisi- 2 km long fences were installed. 13 – Sakorintelo, Tvaurebi and Akhmaji- approximately 1,5 Km fences were installed.
2014: -14- 500 m. long fences were installed in Keresa and Otrevi;
2015: 15- A new so-called border sign, from only 350 meters away from the central main road of Georgia, was places in the village Tsitelubani. 16- A border signs were installed in the villages -Tamarasheni and Tseronisi,
2016: 17- A so-called border sign was placed in the village Avlevi;
2017: 18-A so called border signs in the villages – Tsitelubani and Khurvaleti; 19 -June-so-called borderization process in the village of Kharafala; 20 -June – The so-called 3 border signs were installed in the village Bershueti, additionally occupying 10 hectares of Georgian land; 21-July- so-called borderization process continues with digging of the anti-fire ditches in the villages: Knolevi, Tseorni and Avlevi;
During the recent years, more than 20 facts of the crawling occupation have been observed. Each of these caused a reaction from Georgian society. Protesters visited places of the occupation, they even started civilian patrolling on the border in vain.
The process of the crawling occupation are likely to be affecting public opinions. According to the research of National Democratic Institute (NDI), 41% of Georgian respondents believe Russian military power is stronger than the one of US, 36% believe the US has more powerful military forces and 15% think they are equal. However, just the US military budget is higher than the military budgets of the rest of the countries combined. Therefore, the result of the NDI research about public opinion can be caused by the events of 2008, when Georgia had to face the Russian military aggression in a war, as well as by the ongoing crawling occupation.
It is noteworthy that the public opinion about military powers of Russia or the US, is not an indicator of Georgia’s foreign policy. The majority of Georgians support the county’s integration in western organizations, such as EU and NATO, and as the president of Georgia Margvelashvili stated, it is result of winning the battle against the Russian propaganda in Georgia: “The Russian propaganda should have been most effective in the post-soviet space and in a country, which had been most actively opposing the Russian political elite. However, the Georgian society, partly due to active efforts of the media, has been a winner in this propaganda up to now," Margvelashvili said.