The messenger logo

Press Scanner

Compiled by Messenger Staff
Friday, June 11
Badri Bitsadze: Vano is the de facto President of the country

Badri Bitsadze, the former head of the Border Security Department, states in an interview with Kvela Siakhle that "I know Vano [Merabishvili, the Interior Minister] very well, I was his deputy for three years. Vano is the de facto President of the country today. He controls everything, from the media, to the Parliamentary majority... have no doubt that he will soon make some interesting statements.

"Saakashvili is a nominal President. He travels around the world, to the USA etc. I do not really believe the rumours about arguments within the authorities… There could only be arguments in one case, if someone demands more money or takes something from the slush fund without permission. But the guilty party may be wigged for it, nothing more,” says Badri Bitsadze.

"As for illegal arms trading, the USA has launched an investigation into this. If the Americans complete it, and I believe they will, we will see that everything is the opposite way up to the way it is portrayed. I did not have any connection with purchase documents but as head of the Border Security Department I received information about the category of arms being imported into Georgia. Most of them were not useful for the country and you will not see them being used by the Army. For example, rockets were included, but these then appeared … somewhere else, I do not exactly know.

“We do not only have border problems at the Mamisoni. There is a problematic situation at the borders near Chechnya, Ingushetia and Daghestan. Where Georgian border posts once were Russian border guards are patrolling. I do not know why and how that has happened. They will deny it, but let’s take a helicopter ride with members of the Government and see what is happening in those places. The trouble is, they are not interested. They are only thinking about preserving their power. They prefer being in power to thinking about the loss of Georgian territories. They would not worry even if only Tbilisi was left. I am speaking about controlling the Russian-Georgian border, but the Georgia-Azerbaijan and Georgia-Armenia borders are not being controlled at all," Badri Bitsadze says.

More Georgians died fighting Russia than those inscribed at the Heroes Memorial

Versia writes that the new memorial to those who died fighting the Russians is almost ready.

Sergo Kavtaradze, the head of the Old Tbilisi Rehabilitation and Development Fund, says that the memorial will soon be ready and greenery and electric lighting will therefore soon be installed nearby.

The names of the heroes look like kindled brushwood, flaming with love for the country," painter Gia Bughadze says.

The names are placed on more than 3,300 glass and metal plates. The memorial will be dedicated to the soldiers who died in 1921, in the 1924 mutiny, the 1992-1993 Abkhazian war and the 2008 August war. According to unofficial figures however 35,000 Georgians died in the Abkhazian war, while the official ones posted in the internet state that only 800 died in the Samachablo conflict, 6,000 in the Abkhazian war and 400 in 2008. What therefore were the criteria for selecting the names included on the memorial? The Press Service of City Hall states that the names on the memorial in Abkhazia are repeated on the new memorial and all the other names had been obtained from the Veteran Affairs Department. Versia has tried to contact this department but received no response.