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Saakashvili's coup

By Messenger Staff
Monday, November 2
An Ukrainian video portal has just released a video in which Georgia’s ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili speaks with one of the leaders of the opposition United National Movement (UNM), Giga Bokeria, and the Director of the Rustavi 2 private broadcaster, Nika Gvaramia.

The former top official of the country appeals to the pair to stage a revolution in the country, on the pretext of alleged government involved in the ongoing Rustavi 2 ownership case, in which the channel’s former and current owners are disputing concerning the media outlet’s shares.

The former owner of Rustavi 2, Qibar Khalvashi, stresses that he was illegally deprived of his shares in the channel under the previous state leadership.

Meanwhile, the opposition United National Movement party and the channel leadership claim that the Government has been interfering in the channel’s activities (as well as the ongoing court case) and wished to close it due to the broadcaster’s consistent criticism of the authorities.

After the release of the audio recording, one of the first things the UNM focused on was that the Government continued the illegal surveillance of people.

However, the majority of people on social networks and other representatives of society, paid more attention to Saakashvili’s words and his approach to his own country, as the former President wanted to see bloodshed in Georgia.

The ex-President also dubbed the representatives of the foreign community “idiots”.

Georgian law-enforcement bodies are working to specify whether the recordings are authentic or not. However, the trio had already confirmed the recordings were genuine by their subsequent reactions.

It has also been stated by many that the conversation took place on Viber and it was more likely that it was a Ukrainian or Russian surveillance agency who recorded them.

Even without knowing for definite who recorded the video, the opposition was quick to blame the Government.

It should be stressed that Saakasvili is charged in four different cases by the current state Government and remains wanted. With this in mind, it would not be surprising if Georgian law-enforcement or security bodies continued to monitor his communications.

However, Saakashvili and his team, who recorded thousands of torture and abuse videos under their leadership and eavesdropped on thousands of people daily, are unlikely to speak out on such issues for the time being.

There are two distinct possibilities: the trio are staging something, or they really spoke on Viber and did not suspect that their conversation would be monitored.

The opposition and Rustavi 2 state that the Government has politicized the issue; however, it could be easily argued that by using the channel and the crisis surrounding it for the purpose of a coup is politicizing the issue to an alarming degree.

Herewith, justice is one thing and media freedom is another.

Everyone should be equal before law; one can hope that the Georgian court system is more or less free from political influences (freedom which it did not enjoy under the previous state leadership) and will deliver a fair verdict.