Margvelashvili about Hybrid Threats of Georgia
By Vladimer Napetvaridze
Thursday, March 22
On March 20, President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili underscored the importance of country's security strategy against hybrid threats. The president has held a meeting with the British Government Adviser on Security and Crisis Management Issues, Sir Garry Johnson to discuss the regional security and Georgia’s national security system. According to Margvelashvili, Georgia’s national security system is unable to adequately respond to current challenges and hybrid threats and it is especially alarming considering the security threats Georgia is facing today. Margvelashvili noted that As a result of the legislative and governmental changes implemented in the country, Georgia’s national security system responds less adequately to challenges than before and requires corrections and therefore engagement of Georgia's partners, including the UK, in the development and improvement of Georgia’s national security system is crucial.
The President Margvelashvili mentioned the security issues of Georgia, on a farewell meeting with the Ambassador of the U.S. Ian Kelly. ”Considering escalated threats when democracy and freedom of Georgia and other leading states in the region have to be protected, adoption of Georgia Support Act and advancement of the US-Georgia relations are crucial to overcome the existing challenges,” - Margvelashvili stated.
What is a hybrid threat and why it carries importance for the safety of the country? The hybrid threat is considered as an attack when the enemy together with military forces, uses cyber attacks, media, and other means simultaneously or in combination with different combinations to achieve the desired goal.It involves synchronised use of military and non-military means against specific vulnerabilities in order to affect its opponent. Its instruments can be ratcheted up and down simultaneously, using different tools against different targets.
Any conflict in contemporary world is a hybrid warfare because any side has a number of ways to attack an opponent. In case of Russia-Georgian confrontation, together with the crawling occupation, Russia uses different means to negatively influence Georgian society's pro-western attitudes. Propaganda is an important component of the Kremlin foreign policy. A number of internet based TV channels, print publications, websites, non-governmental organizations and political groups are financed from Russia, to distribute anti-Western messages. These are main tools of Russian hybrid threats in Georgia:
Media Organizations - According to the 2016 survey by the National Democratic Institute (NDI) - 47% of Georgian TV audience watches Russian channels, the most popular of which are TV HTB, ORT and RTR;
Non-Governmental Organizations- Kremlin propaganda also relies on a network of nongovernmental organizations, which organize information meetings and spread anti-western messages;
Political Parties- A number of political parties and political figures directly or indirectly spread Kremlin propaganda.
The main goal of Russia is to reduce the pro-western attitudes in the Georgian society through the spread of disinformation and anti-Western stereotypes, as the public opinion largely determines the state foreign policy.
One of the most important state agencies against hybrid threats was the State Security and Crisis Management Council, which was the highest political authority in terms of determining Georgia’s security threats. The members of the Council were – Prime Minister, Minister of Finance, Minister of Internal Affairs, Minister of Defense and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia. The Council assessed internal and external national security threats, and provided the Prime Minister with the framework of essential measures to predict, expose, prevent and neutralize threats to vital national interests.
In November 2017, the State Security and Crisis Management Council was merged with the Emergency Management Service, which will be focused on operational management of crises but not on a strategic discussion and coordination of security policy. This fact caused controversy part among Georgian experts because they believed that Georgia could not respond adequately to the existing challenges, the Russian occupation, and the hybrid war, as the country would no longer have a coordination mechanism at the highest political level.