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How Georgia meets the 20th anniversary of Independence?

By Messenger Staff
Friday, May 27
20 years have passed since Georgia restored its independence on April 9, 1991. However Georgia celebrates its independence day on May 26, because on that day in 1918 the first Georgian democratic state was declared. Unfortunately it did not last long as just in three years Georgia was occupied and annexed by Bolshevik Russia.

After restoration of independence every year at this date- May 26- Georgian officials and media are widely discussing country’s achievements. Of course gaining and maintaining the independence was very difficult but it was particularly difficult for Georgia. The 20th anniversary of the restoration of independence Georgia met in the utmost complicated conditions and confrontation. One part of the opposition- Public Assembly- was demanding the resignation of the president and holding new elections. Eventually, as it is known, a protest rally was held at the site of the next day military parade and early morning it was raided by the special riot police regiments. It is a bit premature to guess how would this fact influence the further developments.

Just on the eve of the 20th anniversary of independence results of polling became available. IPM polling and marketing centre gave the results of its research based on the answers of 1500 respondents. It turned out that most of the respondents in Georgia trust Orthodox Church – 93%. There is considerable trust as well towards police – 87% and army – 85%. It is interesting to remind that just before the police raiding of the protesters, their leader Nino Burjanadze asked Patriarch of Georgia Ilia II to intervene and prevent anti riot police attacking the protesters.

The results of polling did not show much difference in regards of foreign policy. The major enemy of Georgia was considered Russia – 97% and the best friend for Georgia was considered USA – 70%. The biggest problem for the country still remains territorial integrity – 52%, next comes unemployment – 48% followed by healthcare – 46% and other social problems. It is significant to mention that in the previous researches the issue of the territorial integrity was far ahead compared with other concerns of the population. Some analysts suggest that such attitude does not mean that population has given up the issue of territorial integrity but it is based rather on understanding that current administration is not able to solve the problem.

The polling showed that the rating of ruling National Movement has gone down and reached 33%. This data caused dissatisfaction of ruling party members. According to this current results next among the political parties is Christian Democratic Movement which showed very stable result of 10% and it is followed by Free Democrats (Alasania), Labours (Natelashvili) and National Forum (Shartava/Sanikidze). It should be said that the events which took place in the centre of Tbilisi in front of the parliament in the early morning of May 26 Independence Day will definitely influence the further developments as well as the mood of the population. Presumably the failure of the announced revolution will strengthen the position of ruling power. It will eventually become more confident and would make no concessions in its debates over the election environment of the country.

The negotiations over this issue are underway, though the ruling party follows the tactics of whiling away time and avoiding making substantial concessions.