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Former Rector of TSU: students’ protest is politically guided

By Tea Mariamidze
Wednesday, April 20
Former Rector of Tbilisi State University (TSU) Vladimer Papava, who resigned due to the students’ demand, says the protests were manipulated by concrete political forces aimed at removing the Rector from the university.

According to Papava, his resignation was planned according to a specific scenario.

“An impartial person is not favourable for anyone; the recent protests were influenced by law enforcers,” stated Papava, and added that the election of a new Rector will not be held without governmental interference.

Papava, who resigned on March 30, will officially leave his post after the elections of an acting rector are held. They are scheduled for April 20 with four candidates to take part.

According to Papava, he will continue working in the faculty of business and economics. However, he does not exclude his return to politics one day.

TSU students responded to the comments of Vladimer Papava and deny that their activities are ordered by certain political forces.

A group of students called Auditorium 115 say they have been impartial from the beginning of their protest rallies and accuse the self-government of the students, the so-called Tvitmmartveloba, of being guided by governmental agencies.

Moreover, members of Auditorium 115 - who have been demanding the launch of an investigation about the presence of intelligence agents at the university - accuse law enforcers of exerting pressure on them and their families.

They released a statement which reads that every day their family members are intimidated – they are threatened with dismissal from their jobs and arrest if the students do not stop their protest.

“We call on the government, the President, the diplomatic corps, the Ombudsman, non-governmental organizations, to support and protect us and our families. This police regime, which was established under the previous government, continues to exist today,” says the statement of Auditorium 115.

The President of Tvitmmartveloba, Shalva Sabauri, denies that Students’ Self-government is ruled by any political forces. He claims that Self-Government has always enjoyed autonomy at TSU.

Currently, suspended studies have been resumed at TSU. The students decided to stop protest rallies after they had a meeting with the Prime Minister and they agreed on several issues.

The students still have the following demands: the abolition of the Tvitmmartveloba, the reorganization of the education system, and launching an investigation into the presence of intelligence agents (ODRs) at TSU.