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Prepared by Diana Dundua
Thursday, January 24

“Shalva Pichkhadze: there’s a danger of growing distrust towards the West!”
Akhali Taoba quotes political analyst Shalva Pichkhadze as saying, “Because of the situation in Georgia, you can expect that if you hold the plebiscite on NATO integration again, more than 30 percent of voters will say ‘no’ to NATO membership.”

He ticks off several reasons for a supposed slip in support for NATO membership, including a growing distrust of the West from Georgian voters.

“All of this is based on Saakashvili’s alienation of the public,” the analyst said.

Yet Pichkhadze does not expect to see any concurrent rise in pro-Russian sentiment.

“There is an information vacuum in Tskhinvali region”
A journalists’ union in separatist South Ossetia, which Sakartvelos Respublika refers to as “Tskhinvali region,” is reportedly protesting a Georgian clampdown on media in the region.

The de facto secessionist authorities blamed Georgian special operations forces in a January 23 statement.

“Georgian policemen are tearing up all newspapers at checkpoints,” a statement from the journalists’ union claims. “The people, already living in total isolation, are now even further oppressed. Villages that are far from the center know nothing about what is going on in the region.”

“Nino Burjanadze left for Vienna”
Rezonansi reports that acting parliamentary speaker Nino Burjanadze left for Vienna yesterday on a two-day official visit.

She is scheduled to meet with OSCE officials, including the secretary general.

On the agenda are election issues, including preparation for the upcoming parliamentary elections in spring.

“De facto MP fired from Tskhinvali after being ‘accused’ of being Sanakoyev’s friend”
Akhali Taoba writes that Batraz Pukhaev, an MP in the de facto separatist South Ossetian parliament, was expelled from office over accusations he is working with Dmitry Sanakoyev, a former separatist official who is now the Tbilisi-backed head of the alternative South Ossetian administration.

Separatist representatives in Tskhinvali, the de fact capital of breakaway South Ossetia, claim Pukhaev visited Tbilisi multiple times for meetings with Sanakoyev.

“Criminals attacked two Georgian families in Gali district”
Criminals allegedly attacked to ethnic Georgian families in Abkhazia’s Gali district on the night of January 23, according to Sakartvelos Respublika.

Tornike Kilanava, the Gali coordinator for the Tbilisi-backed Abkhazian government-in-exile, said the criminals physically assaulted the two families, though no one was seriously injured.”

“The robbers took TV sets and other things from both families,” Kilanava said.

Gali, a southern district in breakaway Abkhazia, is predominantly populated by ethnic Georgians.