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Independence Day without parade

By Messenger Staff
Thursday, May 21
The current Georgian government will celebrate Georgia’s Independence Day on May 26 for the third time without a military parade.

Various events are planned dedicated to the significant date. However, the absence of the military parade causes dissatisfaction among the opposition, who accuse the government of discrediting state institutions.

When the Georgian Dream coalition took office in 2012, then Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili did not want the former President Mikheil Saakashvili to lead military performances on the day and the tradition of holding parades was replaced by entertaining offers suggested to the people taking part in the celebration.

When Saakashvili’s term expired and the Ivanishvili-nominated Giorgi Margvelashvili became the President, the tradition was kept, as Ivanishvili came to disagree with Margvelashvili for his private solution-making nature after he was elected President.

Ivanishvili and the current government continue to claim that there is no need for military parades on the date, as May 26 is a public holiday rather than a military one.

Similar to last year, certain military elements will be included in the events planned to mark the occasion. There will be an exhibition of military and special weaponry and flights over Tbilisi.

Member of the Georgian Dream party, Zakaria Kutsnashvili, states that offering entertaining events to the public and military exhibitions is more of a European approach. He also stresses that a substantial amount of state money is saved through the solution.

The opposition United National Movement openly criticizes the decision.

The opposition MP Goka Gabashvili states that the step is a display of disrespect to the Georgian Army.

“Such solutions are made by the government that hates its state institutions. All the institutions are disregarded and discredited by the current state leadership,” Gabashvili suggests.

Former Defence Minister and leader of the opposition Free Democrats party Irakli Alasania, sees no importance of large-scaled military parades for the day. However, he thinks that military elements should be inserted into the events.

“The day should be celebrated and some military elements should be added to the occasion for our military forces to demonstrate their martial skill for the public,” Alasania says.

It is less likely the government will change its position on the issue and the topic will be used by the opposition to scold the current authorities.