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Balance and Counterbalance

By Messenger Staff
Thursday, June 19
There are two major political parties in Georgia: the Georgian Dream coalition and the United National Movement. The UNM took office in 2003 via a bloodless revolution under the leadership of the young, talented, energetic, reform-oriented Mikheil Saakashvili. Those who were loyal to Saakashvili were appointed to high posts. There were three leaders on his team. There was Saakashvili, Nino Burjanadze with her team and Zurab Zhvania and his allies.

However, the triumvirate did not last long. After being together for only a year, Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania was found dead in a flat in Tbilisi. Circumstances of the accident still remain obscured. Rumors spread immediately that it was not an accident. Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili announced too soon after the fact that it was an accident caused by a gas leak. Four-five hours after his death, the MIA conducted all investigative operations and other formalities required to reveal the cause of death. Of course, such quickness caused suspicions in public.

Chair of the Parliament Nino Burjanadze withdrew from the team in 2008, as there were some controversies between her and Saakashvili. Saakashvili became the sole leader of the county. Unfortunately, the features of dictatorship became very vivid in Saakashvili’s behavior.

While being together, Zhvania and Burjanadze attempted to control the president’s activities. However, after Zhvania’s death and Burjanadze quit her post, Saakashvili became uncontrollable. He gathered people who expressed loyalty and devoutness towards him. High-ranking posts were awarded based on features, rather than professionalism.

The major fault committed by Saakashvili and his supporters was getting trapped by Russia’s provocative behavior. This led to a short military conflagration with Russia and the inevitable loss of Tskhinvali and S. Ossetia and eventually Abkhazia as well.

The adventure was suppressed by the overwhelming number of Russian soldiers entering Georgian territory from the north reinforced by Chechen, Kazak and other nationals, which eventually resulted in the ethnic cleansing of the Georgian population.

In terms of internal policy, Saakashvili announced zero tolerance towards criminals. According to the slogan, instead of a civilized investigation of the case, people were detained or arrested without any real grounds in many cases.

There were special units who killed people based on suspicions. There were the notorious cases of Vazagashvili, Robakidze, Girgvliani, and the Navtlughi case, the Mukhrovani mutiny and so on. On November 7, 2007 and on May 26, 2011, Saakashvili administration organized punitive operations against peaceful Georgian citizens who were protesting tyranny and demanding democratic changes in the country. There were multiple cases of abusing human rights and various barbarian actions committed by law-enforcement officials.

All these and many other facts led to dissatisfaction among the public towards Saakashvili’s regime. Billionaire philanthropist, Bidzina Ivanishvili appeared in Georgian politics when the negative mood towards Saakashvili was waiting for a crowning moment.

Ivanishvili was supporting Saakashvili’s government when the UNM took office, giving financial support to new reforms, assisted Georgian culture, actors, and talented people and so on…

Ivanishvili established a political movement called the Georgian Dream, which later became a coalition, uniting several opposition entities. Despite the pressure from the UNM, the Georgian Dream gained victory during the elections in 2012.

It was the first step for genuine democracy that took place in Georgia, and proved that Georgia is a civilized nation.

To be continued…