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Great expectations frustrated

By Messenger staff
Tuesday, December 2
The Rose Administration, full of ambition, once considered its reign, which began in 2003, as a new era in the country’s modern history. Every anniversary of the Revolution was marked with great celebration until November 7, 2007 when everything went wrong.

But the Rose leaders would not have dreamt even in their nightmares that the country would be in such a deep crisis on the 5th anniversary of the Revolution, or that their leaving would be so intensively speculated over.

Karl Marx called revolution a locomotive of history. He was partly wrong – revolutionary locomotives generally took tracks that led nowhere and ran into the buffers, usually due to the belief that all revolution is right and therefore a revolutionary leadership must last for ever. We don’t yet have the final report of the Parliamentary War Commission, but we have heard the testimonies of the President and a number of senior figures in the administration. Maybe their instinct of self preservation has worked for them so far, but if you trusted in what they said, everything in the country worked perfectly during the conflict, there were no failures. A lost war and territories was the best result possible (?!) Nobody could have done better, if we are to believe the Government.

The Rose Administration does not intend to go, and ignores completely any statements made on this subject. The opposition insists on the resignation of the country’s leadership. In practical terms the Government actually resigned some time ago. Prime Minister Gurgenidze left despite being always praised for his good performance. After losing a war, all that happened was that the Ministers of Culture and Environment Protection were replaced and castling took place. That was it.

One might remember that the biggest driver of the Russian aggression against Georgia was the desire to replace Saakashvili and his administration with Russian-appointed marionettes. Therefore any pressure on the leadership from the north is rejected by both the Georgian population and the opposition. This is our business. Similarly, there are speculations in the local media that the West is also unhappy with the wilting Roses, whose thorns have started to cut Western hands, and is thinking of a possible alternative. Presumably Nino Burjanadze, former Parliament Chair and Rose Revolution architect, would represent an alternative the West can stomach. She is moderate, balanced, with a good image, accepted by the Americans as well as Russians, and the West will not have to answer awkward questions about its support for the Rose Administration up to now if it elevates one if its former members. But here again these possible Western moves are objected to by the population and opposition. This is our business! Our business - ‘cosa nostra’ in Italian - but hopefully without the criminality!

There is no unity among the opposition as to how to facilitate a change of administration. If the rating of the current authorities is low the rating of the opposition is even lower. It has failed so far to elaborate any solid integrated platform. Some elements demand snap elections, others insist on changes to the election code first. Some advocate continual public protests, others doubt enough people would attend these to force the leadership to resign. The administration meanwhile tries its best to please the population by flirting with it and showing the West its commitment to democratic development. But still it clings to the major vehicles of its propaganda machine, the TV channels.

The solution is hard to identify. Maybe one of the best ways to achieve beneficial change would be for donors put preconditions on their aid: the promised amounts could be allocated only after major changes appear in the constitution, legislation and in reality. Doing this would render street protests unnecessary and ensure the confrontation is played out within the electoral process, possibly creating a smooth and constitutional change of administration. But this would require major goodwill on the part of our Western friends, and a commitment to permanent monitoring of the steps being taken, to ensure that Georgia really is ‘our business’ and not ‘cosa nostra’ from now on.