Georgia: Post Soviet country
By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, March 3020 years ago on March 31, 1991 a referendum was held in Georgia, which declared the population’s will to restore Georgia’s independence. 20 years have passed since the date. Maybe this is only a short time in history, but this is almost one generation. Georgia has passed through serious turmoils during these 20 years and it might be time for some quiet and serious evaluation.
It has not been an easy 20 years for Georgia. It faced serious problems, some were solved, and some have not been resolved yet. One very important issue is overcoming the burden of soviet heritage. Georgia’s current President Saakashvili has mentioned several times the concept of ‘mental revolution’ meaning young-age representatives coming to power in the country. If one attentively looks into the history of the soviet state, initially the Bolsheviks were also very young. It was 70 years later when they became very old and hopeless. Is this part of the heritage of the soviet mentality? The assessment of the current situation of the country differs very much depending on who makes this assessment: ruling party representatives or the opposition. Davit Berdzenishvili, a Republican says that Georgia is still a post soviet country. It is a post totalitarian country, he says, meaning that this type of state is not entirely democratic and has autocratic features. Although the so called Rose Revolution leadership tries to convince its population, as well as others that the country has freed itself from soviet heritage, their opponents do not agree. The opposition thinks that although the Saakashvili administration claims that they have modernized the country, the opposition asserts that only the forms and methods of Bolshevism were modernized. Just like in the soviet past, the leadership wants to substitute freedom of thought, speech, media and court with the ruling Party's ideology, forcing individuals to follow the dictate of the political elite of the ruling administration, think opposition representatives who draw parallels between the Bolsheviks and the current political system. Of course the country has achieved certain progress and it is not a Bolshevik system at all, otherwise such opinions would not have had the chance to be aired at all and those who would dare to produce such thoughts would have ended up in jail if not shot.
Everything is comparative and compared with the soviet past, Georgia has achieved significant progress. In terms of democracy, Georgia has achieved significant progress compared with its neighbor post soviet countries. The Western diplomats and political figures, either residing or traveling to Georgia unanimously mention the difference in this direction. However, Georgia’s target is to become integrated in Western structures and therefore, the demands and expectations are higher. The hottest issue for Georgia’s democratic aspirations is the elections. Elections are the biggest indicators for the level of democracy in the country. The elections should definitely provide for the smooth and organic transition from one political party's control to another's if the electorate so decides. Of course, Georgia has been progressing in the direction of elections campaigning; however, it is becoming clear that the ruling party is artificially blocking the new amendments to the elections code. It has become clear that such an attitude demonstrates the ruling party's concerns of possibly losing the election; therefore it wants to preserve the current system, secure its victory and prolong its presence in power. But this is counter effective, it can backfire very painfully because it gives grounds to the more radical part of the opposition, which claims that any kind of changes in the country’s governance could be achieved through a revolution, although a peaceful one. How this could be handled, how the revolution could be completely peaceful is unknown. But whatever happens, the responsibility will be put on the ruling administration, particularly in a situation where it possesses a constitutional majority in the parliament and can practically act as it pleases in the country.