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Prepared by Diana Dundua
Tuesday, January 29

“Koba Subeliani listened to the IDPs’ problems”

Akhali Taoba reports that acting state minister for refugees and resettlement Koba Subeliani visited Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) living near Tbilisi airport, where repairs on their housing are underway.

The sewage and electricity systems have been redone, and the roof of the building housing the IDPs is being repaired.

“I promise that, if need be, repairs like this will be done in every place where IDPs live,” the acting state minister declared.

Subeliani also promised the nine families living in the building that he would help them with their expensive electricity bills.

“Guguli Maghradze: the president will not be able to win the peoples’ hearts through staff changes!”

Ruling party MP Guguli Maghradze says the recent cabinet shakeup includes only cosmetic changes, according to Mteli Kvira.

“Saakashvili needs this, as the parliamentary elections are coming up and he wants to appease voters,” Maghradze stated.

But Maghradze says she doubts any of the new ministers will be able to bring about real, positive changes to the government’s direction. She also criticized the removal of Gela Bezhuashvili from the post of foreign minister.

“These are not staff changes by which President Saakashvili will win the peoples’ hearts,” she concluded. “Probably, now more people will attend protest rallies organized by the opposition.”

Note: Maghradze has publicly dissented from the ruling party on a few occasions since last fall, notably advocating earlier parliamentary elections during the November demonstrations and referring to imprisoned ex-minister Irakli Okruashvili as a “political prisoner.”

“The Kokoity administration cut off drinking water to Didi Liakhvi”

Sakartvelos Respublika claims that the de facto South Ossetian separatist administration turned off the Edisi-Tskhinvali water pipeline on January 27, leaving residents of Georgian-controlled Didi Liakhvi Gorge without drinking water.

According to the newspaper, separatist officials told OSCE representatives that the pipeline is down for repairs. The article then suggests that the separatists, in an effort to discredit the Tbilisi-backed alternative South Ossetian administration led by Dmitry Sanakoyev, are telling residents the Sanakoyev administration cut off the pipeline.

“Famous Georgian singer Temur Tatarashvili released”

Akhali Taoba reports that Temur Tatarashvili, which the newspaper somewhat redundantly identifies as a well-known Georgian singer, was released from prison on January 27.

He met his sister, Tina Tatarashvili, as he exited the prison gates.

The release was entirely unexpected, the singer told journalists.

“I spent two months hoping to be released, but I didn’t expect it to happen today. Everyone treated me well and respected me in prison. I’m just worried that I’ve lost my voice. But if I can get my voice back, and the public will take me back, then I’ll certainly continue singing,” Tatarashvili said.

Note: Temur Tatarashvili was imprisoned in September 2006 on charges of dealing and using drugs. He faced a ten-year prison sentence, but shortly after his reelection President Saakashvili pardoned the singer.