The messenger logo

Georgians abroad address opposition

By Etuna Tsotniashvili
Thursday, April 23
On April 21 the State Ministry for Diaspora Issues released a special statement sent by Georgians living abroad which calls on the radical wing of opposition to immediately stop their protest actions, which they say will provoke the authorities to use violence against them. Georgians living abroad think that blockading the streets and Government institutions has nothing in common with freedom of speech and peaceful protests, their statement says. “This is anti-constitutional action that aims to provoke a reaction from the authorities and discredit them in this way,” the statement reads.

The authors of the statement remind the opposition that Russian occupiers who are against the joint military trainings soon to be held by NATO in Georgia are not far from Tbilisi. “It is easy to understand what the occupiers are waiting for and what result demonstrations and violent confrontation with the Government might bring,” the statement says, adding that total responsibility for this result will be upon the side which violates the constitution in order to reach its political goals. The Georgian diaspora calls on the Georgian authorities not to rise to provocations and not to use force.

“We believe that any kind of political agreement between the Government and opposition is in the interest of a large part of the Georgian population, so we ask opposition to act within the law and in accordance with democratic norms, gather signatures from the Georgian population and by plebiscite prove that the majority of Georgians support their demands,” the diaspora representatives write.

The authors of the statement say that dialogue should be held on one issue: “Will both sides recognize the results of a future plebiscite?” They also highlight that the existing election code may not be perfect and democratic but it would be more undemocratic to overthrow the Government by gathering tens of thousands of protesters.

The statement released by the Ministry is signed by thirteen individuals in Germany and Switzerland. A few of these claim to be acting on behalf of specific diaspora organisations.

Another letter has also been released by the Diaspora Ministry in which Georgian Professor Gagi Otiashvili from Adelphi University in New York addresses former Chair of Parliament Nino Burjanadze. In his “Open Letter to the ‘Georgian Iron Lady’” Otiashvili asks Burjanadze not to speak on behalf of the whole Georgian nation when demanding snap Presidential elections. Otiashvili suggests that Burjanadze speak on her own behalf, and that of some opposition parties and their supporters, rather than the whole Georgian people.

“You constantly demand snap elections on behalf of the people. Such insistent usurpation of the voice of the people shows that your real goal is to get your hands on power, even at the expense of weakening Georgia,” Otiashvili says. He tells Burjanadze that she is not ‘an Iron Lady’ (such as Margaret Thatcher). “I personally tell you that you are not “an Iron Lady”. You may be a strong person but I ask you to abandon such absurd Ferromania. If you become President, you will not able to stop Russian aggression,” Otiashvili writes in his letter.

The opposition continue to claim that they have many supporters abroad and that Georgians agree with their demands completely. Many Georgians very often call Utsnobi from abroad in his cell, expressing their support for him and the whole opposition.