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Spy Scandal

By Messenger Staff
Friday, November 5
As various media outlets are reporting, 20 agents (Russian spies) have been detained in Georgia. Some years ago, in 2006, Georgians detained several people, Russian militaries among them, accused of spying against Georgia. This was followed by further deterioration in relations between Georgia and Russia. This time officials are keeping quiet, however the number of suspects detained is already of a scandalous nature. It was stated that all twenty persons are Georgian citizens, of whom some names have been revealed. However it was stated that they were collecting information from the ministries of the interior and defense among other details and were attempting to increase the network of spies.

Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov commented on the fact and highlighted that there are no diplomatic relations between countries and that all of those detained are Georgian citizens. The matter of labeling the detainees as Russian agents has been common since Georgia gained its independence and has mostly been used as an effective tool against the opposition. The first president Gamsakhurdia often operated with the label 'Kremlin agent' against any undesirable opponent. The current administration also exercises this trick. For instance during the November 7, 2007 events, opposition leaders Shalva Natelashvili, Goga Khanidrava and Levan Berdzenishvili were branded in the same way. Television pictures showed them meeting with Russian diplomats and having a conversation with Russian security officers allegedly. The late Georgian tycoon and opposition supporter Badri Patarkatsishvili was accused of being a protector of Russian interests. None of these figures were detained however.

In return, the opposition itself accused the ruling administration of following a pro Russian policy. However things have changed since then, today some opposition representatives openly and demonstratively go to Russia, shake hands with its leaders and carry out negotiations. Two of those politicians are former Saakashvili allies Nino Burjanadze and Zurab Noghaideli.

As for the current spy scandal, the Georgian public is waiting for extra news to come out, their names, their activities and so on, which will eventually make it clear whether they are real spies and agents or merely the victims of political games.