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“Absolute power corrupts absolutely”

By Messenger Staff
Thursday, May 23
The former Prime Minister and Minister of Healthcare were detained on criminal charges. Both were from the United National Movement. Neither of the two are ordinary officials. For several years Vano Merabishvili was in charge of the Interior Ministry of Georgia. President Saakashvili called him the backbone of the system in the country. He created a solid system of police which became the subject of pride for the Rose Administration.

Unfortunately, the police would later become too politicized. Therefore, the police reform achievements authored by Merabishvili lost its allure, as the police eventually were used by the Saakashvili administration as a tool of repression. Georgians remember very well that on November 7, 2007 and May 26, 2011, the police behaved brutally, cracking down and suppressing political rallies in front of the parliament building in Tbilisi.

Nevertheless, Merabishvili had great influence within the Rose Administration. In fact he was the last hope of the UNM. This is why he was appointed as the Prime Minister right before the parliamentary elections, in order to secure the UNM’s victory. However, we know how that turned out.

There were certain cases where the police were forced to manipulate the election results like what happened in Khashuri. Otherwise, Merabishvili did not “fulfill his task.” The UNM lost, but soon afterwards, Merabishvili was appointed Secretary General of UNM.

Coming from the remote village of one of the poorest provinces of Georgia, Samtskhe-Javakheti, Merabishvili became one of the most powerful figures in the country. In Georgia there is a saying, that fear creates love. It's true. Merabishvili was loved by some, but he was feared by many more.

He proved to be a tough manager, attentive to his employees, took special care of the police forces injured while fighting crime, while on the other hand he was a controversial personality. His name was connected with the notorious death of young bank employee Sandro Girgvliani – a case in which Merabishvili’s wife was connected.

It was later proven that Merabishvili manipulated and influenced the investigation of this case to rescue his wife and accordingly other police officers who participated in the murder of Girgvliani.

It was also revealed that the atrocities conducted by the special regiments of the police on May 26, 2011, were personally directed and led by Merabishvili. So by detaining him on some other charges as well, it is a big challenge for both sides. The Georgian Dream coalition is fulfilling public order to re-establish justice in the country. People want the officials involved in crime for their role in the abuse of human rights, suppression of media and other violations, to be punished and the Georgian Dream has attempted to carefully investigate the cases in an unbiased manner.

The second official, Zurab Tchiaberashvili, is a victim of the system, an intellectual, a scholar, a professor of philosophy, was hand-picked and promoted by the UNM and engaged in its corrupt system of governance.

Being a high-ranking official does not mean they have legal immunity from the deeds they have committed over the span of their careers. It is an obligation and responsibility rather than a privilege. Georgia’s new administration wants to confirm to the local population as well as the rest of the world that everyone should be equal before the law. Some time ago current first deputy minister of interior was arrested for human rights violations. So let us watch together.