Podcast Series Episode 4 with Eto Buziashvili: A State-Society Split in Georgia Complicates the Country’s Euro-Atlantic Path

The fourth episode of our podcast series Foreign Authoritarian-State Disinformation: Global Perspectives is out now! The initiative is supported by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs with Meridian International Center as the implementing partner. 

In this installment, Dr. Rumena Filipova talks to Eto Buziashvili, research associate for the Caucasus at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, investigating the information space and focusing on Russia and the Caucasus region. Prior to that, Ms. Buziashvili advised the National Security Council of Georgia and was involved in developing strategic documents. She also worked as a senior analyst at the country’s Ministry of Interior and was one of the negotiators at the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) through which Russian officials and separatist leaders from the occupied regions of Georgia addressed the consequences of the 2008 Russian-Georgian War. Ms. Buziashvili graduated from the Geneva Centre for Security Policy and the University of Geneva with an MA in International and European Security.

Tune in to the conversation to hear more about:

  • The existential nature of the threat that Russian interference poses to Georgia, as the Kremlin tries to derail the Euro-Atlantic integration of Tbilisi and instills fears of the loss of further Georgian territories.
  • How (pro)government Georgian actors facilitate the penetration of Kremlin propaganda claiming that opposition to Russia would seemingly drag Georgia into the Russian war against Ukraine. Also, the extent of ties between the Georgian government and the Kremlin. 
  • Why civil society takes the lead in combatting disinformation, especially through international partnerships, and why it was the Estonian intelligence services that sounded the alarm bell about Russian influence operations (rather than the Georgian ones).
  • The split between Georgian authorities and society, with the latter maintaining its pro-Western orientation despite government actions to the contrary.
  • Why Georgia was not offered EU candidate status.
  • Which country in the Caucasus is most susceptible to foreign authoritarian-state disinformation. 
  • How China started to copy Russia’s disinformation tactics in Georgia by tapping into local resources.