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Unveiling Pro-GD, anti-Western Narratives: Analyzing POSTV and “People’s Power”

The study focuses on the utilization of pro-Russian media outlets, such as POSTV, by Russia for the dissemination of disinformation and propaganda narratives on a global scale, with a particular emphasis on its impact in Georgia. The research encompasses an examination of POSTV's historical origins, changes in the company's charter, financial sources, and political affiliations.

In the first part of the study, we delve into the creation of POSTV, exploring its evolution over time and scrutinizing alterations in its organizational structure. Additionally, the investigation delves into the sources of funding that sustain POSTV and examines its political connections.

The second part of the article predominantly concentrates on the analysis of POSTV's social media presence, investigating the narratives propagated by its social network pages, open groups, and affiliated accounts. The temporal scope of this analysis spans from September 1 to October 20, 2023. This period is crucial for understanding the dynamics of POSTV's messaging and assessing the narratives disseminated through its various online platforms.

Background of POSTV

Postv LLC was established in 2017. According to the company's charter, its primary activity is the production and distribution of media products. The charter indicates that the company had five co-founders: Nugzar Rukhadze, Zaza Shatirishvili, Zviad Bliadze, Shalva Ramishvili, and SWOT Production LLC. According to the 2017 extract from the public register, these individuals shared 100% of the company's shares equally, each holding a 20% stake. Additionally, Nugzar Rukhadze served as the company's director at that time.

Since 2017, the company has undergone several changes. The changes implemented from 2017 to 2019 can be summarized as follows:

In 2022, five shareholders of the company, namely Nugzar Rukhadze (16%), Zviad Bliadze (16%), Ana Shengelia (8%), Vakhtang Komakhidze (8%), and Temur Tcharelashvili, decided to sell their shares. It is worth noting that Nugzar Rukhadze, Zviad Bliadze, Ana Shengelia, and Vakhtang Komakhidze sold their entire shares, while Temur Tcharelashvili sold only 4% of the 28% he originally owned. Eventually, a 52% stake in the company was acquired by Viktor Japaridze, a former deputy of the "Georgian Dream" party and one of the founders of the "People's Power" movement, for 520,000 GEL.

It's noteworthy that Viktor Japaridze is also a significant donor to the ruling party. From 2012 to 2017, Japaridze made a total donation of 120,000 GEL to Georgian Dream. Additionally, it's interesting to observe that members of the "Georgian Dream '' party founded the "People's Power" movement in August 2022, and Viktor Japaridze acquired a 52% share of Postv in October 2022. This purchase of the controlling stake in the television network by Japaridze is expected to amplify the dissemination of their message to the public. Later, Shalva Ramishvili stated that Postv has transformed into a media platform for the "People's Power."

As of 2023, the shareholders of the company are Viktor Japaridze, Shalva Ramishvili, and Temur Tsharelashvili. The distribution of shares among them is as follows:

Source: DataVision

In addition, Temur Tcharelashvili holds the position of executive director, and Nugzar Rukhadze serves as the director of public relations.

Financial Background

According to the information posted on the website of the Communications Commission, the revenues of the TV company Postv are as follows, categorized by year:

Source: DataVision

From 2019 to 2023, PostV LLC received a total of 15,180,597 GEL from various sources, with the broadcaster's owner contributing 395,970 GEL. The primary source of the TV company's revenue is advertisements. The revenue from commercial and paid social ads during this period is as follows:

Source: DataVision

It's also worth noting that state agencies frequently place advertising orders on Postv. For instance, from 2021 to 2023, advertising on Postv was commissioned by various state entities, including the Central Election Commission, Government Administration, Ministry of Defense, House of Justice, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Internal Affairs, and others. Additionally, in 2021, the Georgian Dream party also allocated funds for advertising on Postv. During the same year, Optimum Media Buying Limited, a company registered in Russia, placed four orders for Postv ads, paying amounts ranging from 7,000 to 50,000 GEL for each.

Political Connections

As previously mentioned, in August 2022, several MPs from the "Georgian Dream" party formed a new movement called "People's Power," and shortly thereafter, former MP Viktor Japaridze joined the movement. Just a few months after the foundation of this movement, Viktor Japaridze acquired the controlling stake in Postv LLC for 520,000 GEL, subsequently making Postv the primary media platform for "People's Power."

Regarding Viktor Japaridze, he served as a member of the Parliament in the 6th, 8th, 9th, and 10th convocations. In 2022, he left the "Georgian Dream" party and aligned himself with the "People's Power" movement. Members of the "People's Power" movement were the driving force behind the proposed legislation on "agents of foreign influence," which they registered in February 2023. According to this draft law, non-governmental organisations and media outlets that receive funding from Georgia's Western partners should be registered as "agents of foreign influence." However, it's worth noting that information regarding the incomes and real estate of the members of "People's Power" itself is not transparent.

It's intriguing to note that despite the legal requirement for all officials to complete and submit accurate property declarations, Viktor Japaridze is one of the officials who consistently fail to do so. The Public Service Bureau conducted four assessments of Viktor Japaridze's property declarations in 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2022, and in all four instances, the evaluations were negative. Several significant shortcomings were identified, including a recurring issue where Viktor Japaridze did not provide a full description of his real estate holdings. The Bureau's conclusions also highlighted a lack of comprehensive information regarding the Japaridze family's real estate holdings. Additionally, Japaridze failed to provide complete information concerning bank account balances and business activities. It's worth noting that Viktor Japaridze was fined four times by the Public Service Bureau for incomplete declaration submissions: 1,000 GEL in 2018, 805 GEL in 2019, 1,028 GEL in 2020, and 1,004 GEL in 2022. Despite these fines, Japaridze continues to violate the requirement of submitting an annual declaration and does not provide comprehensive information about his property or financial situation.

Regarding Viktor Japaridze's entrepreneurial activities, as per information from the DataVision tool, Japaridze holds shares in two other companies, Seti+ LLC and Tabuni LLC, in addition to Postv LLC.

Source: DataVision

Seti+ Ltd. is a company that was established in 2017. Presently, the company has two shareholders: Otar Chartolani, who owns 66.7% of the company, and Viktor Japaridze, who owns the remaining 33.3%. However, Japaridze's share is currently being managed by his wife, Natia Khvistani. In terms of the company's director, the position is currently held by Archil Meskhidze.

Source: DataVision

Regarding the second company, Tabuni LLC, it was founded in 2020. Initially, the entire 100% of the company's shares were owned by Zaza Charkviani, who also served as the director. However, based on current information, Viktor Japaridze now owns 100% of the company, and the management of his share is presently overseen by Otar Mazmishvili. Mazmishvili also holds the position of director within the company.

Source: DataVision

It is intriguing to note that Tabun LLC has abstained from participating in state procurement since its establishment. Similarly, Seti+ LLC is conspicuously absent from electronic tenders records, despite having entered into 65 contracts through simplified procurement from 2019 to 2023. The cumulative value of these contracts amounts to 510,118 GEL, with the National Tourism Administration or the Mayor's Office emerging as the predominant buyers in most instances.

Having conducted an in-depth analysis of POSTV's history, financial structures, and political affiliations, we have chosen to dedicate the second part of the article to scrutinizing their social media pages and narratives.

Social Media Network

Here is how the social media network of the media outlet POSTV looks.

As part of our research, we not only identified social media pages associated with POSTV but also examined their posts and narratives from September 1 to October 20. Although a more detailed analysis of the narratives will be presented in another chapter of the article, I will briefly outline the topics actively propagated by the social media pages related to the mentioned media outlet during the specified period.

Most frequently, pages affiliated with POSTV focused on posts about Salome Zurabishvili and her potential impeachment. There was also active discussion surrounding the "National Movement," its propaganda, the concept of opening a "second front" in Georgia, the notion of a New Maidan, and campaigns attempting to involve them in a war. Recent discussions have included topics such as the funding sources for the training of "Canvas' ' members, the state trawling scheme, among others. Notably, all social media networks linked to POSTV actively disseminated posts from the "People's Power" movement on various subjects. This is somewhat expected, considering that POSTV serves as their primary media platform. Throughout the research process, it became apparent that the posts from the "People's Power" Facebook page and POSTV analytics are thematically similar, both attempting to draw attention to various issues in a similar fashion. The chart visually illustrates the resemblance in content and number of posts between these two pages:

Using the CrowdTangle tool, we acquired data regarding the number of posts, interactions, and interaction types on the aforementioned social media pages. The obtained data spans the period from September 1 to October 20, 2023.

Based on this data, we can assert that from September 1 to October 20, a total of 2,300 posts were shared across all five social media pages, with POSTV-News being the most prolific contributor.

The figure below illustrates the interactions generated by the posts from these pages during the same timeframe, encompassing the number of comments, reactions, and shares. According to this data, out of a total of 498,600 interactions, POSTV-analytics posts accounted for the highest share, with 300,000 interactions.

When analyzing interactions by post type, it becomes evident that videos shared on POSTV's social media pages are the most popular, followed by photos and live engagements. The comprehensive breakdown of this information is as follows:

In addition to examining social media pages, we also explored the groups where media posts and narratives are shared and distributed.

One notable open group is identified as POSTV NEWS, established in 2016 with nearly 400 members. The group is moderated by Ilia Elerdashvili and Temur Charelashvili, both employed at PostV TV. Despite having limited participation, a closer look at the group's posts reveals that the primary contributors are Ilia Elerdashvili and Temur Charelashvili. Moreover, it is unsurprising to find that a significant portion of the group's content consists of posts, videos, and photos from PostV.

Interestingly, the use of various open groups to disseminate posts and narratives is not exclusive to POSTV NEWS. Gia Abashidze, the presenter of one of PostV's programs, is another example. Abashidze frequently discusses both local and international politics and actively utilizes various groups to distribute videos of his program or other posts. His posts can be found in open groups such as Georgian Media, Social Media, Forward Georgia for a Better Future, Protest, Politics, and Manipulations, among others. It is worth noting that these listed groups boast a substantial audience, numbering in the several thousands, signifying that PostV's posts and videos reach a significantly large audience when shared in such open groups.

In addition to examining POSTV's social media network and posts, we also investigated the social media page of the People's Power Movement and its associated groups. The movement established a social media page on October 25, 2022, and according to the latest data, the page has garnered 17 thousand subscribers. Upon scrutinizing the "People's Power" social media page, it became evident that the posts shared from September 1 to October 20, 2023, echoed similar content as those from PostV and other affiliated pages during the same period.

For instance, "People's Power" frequently posted about the President of Georgia and the impeachment proceedings. Multiple posts were also dedicated to topics such as the "Global War Party," financing of "Canvas" training, and discussions about a coup d'état. Furthermore, the "People's Power" movement operates a closed group with the same name, boasting a membership of a thousand individuals.

Major Propagandistic Narratives

While researching PosTV and People’s Power Facebook pages and groups, we found several propagandistic narratives that were frequently repeated. We divided the narratives spread from September 1 to October 20 into 5 groups:

  1. The impeachment of President Salome Zurabishvili;

  2. Anti-Ukrainian;

  3. Anti-Maidan, revolution;

  4. Anti-Western;

  5. Non-governmental organizations and youth movements.

In the narratives about the impeachment, President Salome Zurabishvili is mentioned as a “traitor” and a “violator of the constitution”. Apart from this, the main focus is on the relationship between the opposition and Salome Zurabishvili. The following narratives were often repeated:

  • The President cooperates with the "Global War Party";

  • Salome Zurabishvili acts against the European integration of Georgia;

  • Salome Zurabishvili contributes to the process of deepening the division and radicalization of society.

The narratives spread about the alleged revolution and against the NGOs in the country often underlined the belief that different international actors are stirring up unrest and political polarization in Georgia with the goal of bringing a “centrist party” to the head of the government (centrist party, in this context, is used figuratively to signify the actions of United National Movement party). Terms such as “agentocratic” circles, agent/agents of influence, opposition lobbyists, spineless opposition, revanchist scenario, and coup d'état were often repeated in the narratives about the above-mentioned issues.

From September 1 to October 20, statements about the new ambassador of the United States of America, Robin Dunningan, her possible connections with opposition parties, and her activities in Ukraine, as well as domestic political problems of the United States, were actively spread.

Along with anti-American statements, there was information that was aimed at discrediting the European Union as a strong union. Anti-western narratives oftentimes depicted the EU as an organization without a clear, unified approach to the states and attempted to show that the official representatives of the EU make completely contradictory political statements.  According to the information spread by PosTV and People’s Power, the main partner of Georgia in the EU is Hungary, which often goes against the wishes of other countries in the union, especially regarding the topic of support for Ukraine. 

Narratives repeated most often regarding the western politicians and organizations:

  • The European Union does not have a uniform, objective approach to the states;

  • Getting the candidate status of the European Union is only a political decision;

  • The European Union made an unfair decision regarding Georgia (when the candidate status was not given to Georgia at the same time as Ukraine and Moldova);

  • Western politicians contribute to the process of polarization in Georgia.

Combining Narratives

In the process of researching the narratives discussed in the paper, the connection between each important narrative and the process of forming them into one narrative line became obvious. 

After the announcement of an expected coup attempt in Georgia by the SSSG (State Security Service of Georgia) on September 18, statements made by the members of PosTV and People's Power, their broadcast topics and Facebook posts aimed to link every important political or media actor to these "plans". One of the first ones that the security service openly pointed to is the "Georgian Legion" and its commander, Mamuka Mamulashvili. It should be noted that members of the "Georgian Legion" are actively involved in the war against Russia in Ukraine. After such statements, the two main Facebook pages started efforts to strengthen this connection and create an additional basis, which directly connected Ukraine and its government to the "planned" revolution in Georgia. It should be noted that the government of Ukraine is often associated with the "United National Movement" due to Mikheil Saakashvili's position as the head of the Council of Reforms of Ukraine. Although the SSSG statement did not mention the involvement of the political opposition, members of PosTV and People's Power still referred to the oppositional forces as part of the plan.

In addition to the abovementioned, the initial statement of the SSSG mentions a "foreign country" that coordinated and provided financial support to the “revolution plans”. The security service does not specify which country it is talking about. However, in this case as well, the targeted websites of this research unanimously considered the United States of America to be this country.

Analyzing the statements of the members of the People's Power, it becomes clear that they tried to present the issue of sanctioning Otar Partskhaladze as a part of the planned "provocations" within the coup, however, the involvement of the US in the narrative of the "expected revolution" becomes clearer with the following actions of the SSSG: The State Security Service of Georgia summoned the leaders of the non-governmental organization "Canvas" for questioning in connection with the September 18 statement. The records of the training conducted by this organization were spread, in which, according to SSSG, “Canvas” members were teaching the participating students how to successfully stage a revolution. In addition to the fact that by including the NGO in this narrative, media actors were given the opportunity to talk about the protests of March 7-9 again, as a result of this act the pages of People's Power and PosTV actively began to talk about the fact that specific projects of "Canvas" are funded by USAID. Such connection has opened the way for People’s Power spokespeople to refer to the US in a negative context more and more often, for example, one of the members of the aforementioned party asks in his statement how plausible it is that the billions often mentioned by the former US ambassador, Kelly Degnan, with which the US helps Georgia, is actually spent on similar trainings. 

People’s Power and PosTV pages were several steps ahead of the official statements of the security services and connected the original Ukrainian narratives to the later reinforced USA ones - politicians of People's Power often talked about the war in Ukraine and US interests in it, the danger of opening a second front and the need for the US to start a turmoil, create chaos in Georgia. 

Over time, by observing the pages of the research object, it becomes obvious that the factor of the President of Georgia is added to the scenario of the "revolution" - after the start of the impeachment process, the speakers and the authors of the posts build a new narrative line that connects Salome Zurabishvili with most of the actors mentioned above, for example, by a question asked by a member of the People's Force - “why do non-governmental organizations associated with "Canvas" support Salome Zurabishvili”, or by making direct statements in which the President of Georgia is presented as a carrier of the interests of other countries, the USA and France.

Regarding the President of Georgia, it is often said that her visits abroad were aimed at losing the EU candidate status for Georgia, which is considered by "People's Power" and PosTV to be one of the main motivators of the coup.


Analyzing the pro-government and anti-Western narratives of PosTV and "People's Power" allowed us to clearly see how, by spreading propaganda information, PosTV and "People's Power" are trying to create a useful and politically profitable agenda for the current government of Georgia. 

Besides allowing the readers to understand the origin of the narratives spread by PosTV and "People's Power" in September-October 2023, the study is helpful in seeing the connection between the narratives. Despite the fact that in the above-mentioned period, the narratives spread around 5 main themes, each of them finally unites in one main narrative - the "revolutionary scenario". Thus, POSTV is a powerful weapon of governmental and anti-Western propaganda that should remain the subject of research.



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