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Time report shows Saakashvili less than honest about Renny Harlin film

December 4, 2009 by georgiamedia

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Georgia's president Mikheil Saakashvili has not been telling the full truth when he says his government did not fund Renny Harlin's film - provisionally titled Georgia - into the August war of 2008.

The president has stated on a number of occassions - and he recently repeated the claim in Kiev reports Time - that the Georgian government did not fund Harlin's work.

"We have enough trouble funding our local directors," he told an audience in the Ukrainian capital.

Of course, even if no money had changed hands it has always been obvious the claim is a nonsense. The Georgian military, despite facing a budget freeze, provided a massive amount of military assistance for the project: and there has never been any suggestion that Harlin and his crew paid for this. It is estimated that civilian use of a helicopter gunship costs about $1400 an hour (see video for scenes of military assistance to the film).

But Time's report also reveals that the Georgian government have paid over cash as well as providing matériel:

But the author of the screenplay, David Imedashvili, tells TIME that the initial funding for the project came from a Georgian government fund. Projects like this, he said, give Georgia a rare chance to hit back at its bullying northern neighbor.

Once again, when it comes to money funding propagandistic use of the media, the régime in Tbilisi is being less than fully honest.

Last week - under fire after the foreign minister said the broadcasters got "state aid" - they pointedly failed to deny the charge (quibbling instead about the interpretation of the foreign ministers words in the classic PR tactic of the "non-denial denial") but made sure it did not get reported on the national TV channels.

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