Varlam Goletiani’s fabricated quotes are disseminated through social networks.
Verdict: FAKE NEWS
On 6 June 2021, publications containing Varlam Goletiani’s fabricated quotes were made in the We Love Georgia Facebook group (link 1, link 2, link 3 and link 4). As of 7 May 2021, the publications amassed a total of six thousand reactions, four thousand shares and over a thousand comments.
In fact, Varlam Goletiani’s statements cannot be found in any open source. FactCheck reached out to Mr Goletiani himself in order to verify the information. As he stated, disinformation under his name is promoted frequently for different purposes. The quotes, posted in the We Love Georgia Facebook group, which Mr Goletiani claims are not his own, are from the same category.
Fake Quote 1: After Varlam refused to take Turkish money and turned his back to them, he said the words of the medieval German philosopher Floda Reltih: “If a man does nothing for his homeland, he is no longer a man and if he sells his homeland, he is no longer a human.”
These words belong neither to Varlam Goletiani nor to the medieval German philosopher Floda Reltih. In fact, a philosopher with such a name cannot be found at all. Therefore, both the quote and the person were invented by the author of the publication.
Fake Quote 2: “I would like to say the words of a great wise man, Damistocles, to all who are interested in why I do not cede Georgian land to Turks and will add nothing more: ‘Every hectare of land given to a foreigner is a lost five years of your nation’s existence.’”
In fact, this quote is fake. These are not the words of either Varlam Goletiani or Damistocles as the latter himself is not a real person but was invented by the author of the publication.
Fake Quote 3: “We live in a society where an LGBT rally has a bigger influence as compared to a grassroots movement in defence of the Georgian lands.”
Varlam Goletiani has never made such statement and the quote is fake. The Facebook account of the publication’s author, Iose-Taghlaur Maghalcheriani, is also fake. He has selected Belgrade, Serbia as his place of residence and uses the photos of Manu Bgartner, an Instagram model, as profile pictures.
About the Group
The We Love Georgia Facebook group is a public group which was created on 22 April 2021. The initial name of the group was Varlam Goletiani – Georgian Hero and was then changed to its present name.
The group mostly shares publications against the construction of the Namakhvani HPP. Most of the publications include Turkophobic narratives and anti-Turkish disinformation (link 1, link 2, link 3, link 4, link 5). Facebook users make such publications which equate the construction of the Namakhvani HPP with Georgia’s economic dependence on Turkey and with Georgia paying tribute to Turkey. Some of them claim that Turkey, under the guise of the construction of HPPs, aims to gain ground in the middle of Georgia and capture its natural resources which is a clear manifestation of Ankara’s expansionist goals. Another group of Facebook users argues that the “liberast West” seeks to have Turkish troops deployed to Georgia as soon as possible in exchange for ceding Abkhazia and Samachablo. The fake quote of the Turkish Ambassador to Georgia, Fatma Ceren Yazgan, that she ostensibly stated to Turkish media that “Namakhvani will be built… or we will finish the Georgian nation” was also published in the group. According to another false claim promoted in the group, Hamit Altintop, ostensibly a Turkish actor, stated that “Turkish expansions should not happen in the Rioni valley.”
Therefore, the aforementioned Facebook group positions itself as a supporter of the Rioni valley and opposes the construction of the HPP. However, on the other hand, by ascribing fake quotes to Varlam Goletiani, the group members seek to give the protest anti-Turkish and homophobic highlights. Mr Goletiani and the Save the Rioni Valley movement stated in their interview with FactCheck that they have nothing to do with the We Love Georgia Facebook group and the information published there.
See FactCheck’s articles (link 1, link 2, link 3 and link 4) as well as the GRASS Disinfometer report on this and other issues which anti-Western disinformation exploits in order to mislead Georgian citizens.
1. Turkish bribers, concerned by Varlam’s actions, approached him and offered such a huge sum of money which would be enough for a man not to lift his finger anymore in his life.
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