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Prepared by Anna Kamushadze
Monday, February 25
“Opposition leader’s flat raided in Kvareli”

Another violent incident against an opposition leader was documented in Kvareli, Sakartvelos Respublika writes.

Mzia Khutuashvili, leader of a regional branch of the Freedom party, tells the paper five young men vandalized her home at night, breaking windows and swearing. She called the police, but Khutuashvili claims they did nothing.

Khutuashvili says the attackers were ruling party activists targeting her for her political activities. Her province of Kakheti is “stuck in the mud,” she complains, with democracy not a reality.

The harassment of opposition-minded people is becoming commonplace in Kakheti, the newspaper warns.

“Soso Tsiskarishvili: stopping the hunger strike was the right decision”

The opposition did not fulfill their threat to begin a hunger strike and a nation-wide town of tents, Akhali Taoba writes, disappointing some of their supporters.

But political analyst Soso Tsiskarishvili, speaking with the newspaper, approves of the opposition coalition’s decision.

The analyst says the ball is now in the government’s court, with voter waiting on the ruling party to fulfill any number of pledges and concessions.

“At this moment, there are negotiations between the opposition and the government. This is very important. The government made public promises, and there are dates by which these promises must me fulfilled. Beginning a hunger strike now wouldn’t be productive,” Tsiskarishvili said.

“Irakli Menagharishvili: Georgia has the right to make a strategic choice”

Akhali Taoba interviews ex-foreign minister Irakli Menagharishvili on last week’s meeting of the Georgian and Russian presidents.

Menagharishvili said the meeting was a good sign, but cautioned readers not to expect swift changes in Moscow-Tbilisi relations. The disagreements between the two countries, he says, stem from a Kremlin which is still unsure how to behave toward post-Soviet states.

“I want to be an optimist, but the situation is too strained and I don’t expect that problems will be solved quickly. Though, there are some issues which can realistically be solved, like the resumption of air travel. There are also a number of issues in which a consensus can be achieved.”

The ex-minister points out that Russia does not hide its opposition to Georgia’s bid for NATO membership.

“But no one has the right to ban Georgia from realizing its choice,” Menagharishvili said.

“Burying Badri Patarkatsishvili may take several weeks”

The exact burial date for billionaire Badri Patarkatsishvili is still not set, Sakartvelos Respublika reports.

The newspaper asks MP Gocha Jojua, head of the late Patarkatsishvili’s political party, about rumors circulating that Patarkatsishvili is in fact alive, and a wax figure of his corpse will be brought back to Georgia to carry off the hoax.

“The imagination of our people is broad,” Jojua replies. “Patarkatsishvili’s family saw his dead body. Now Scotland Yard will lead to conclusion the examination of the businessman’s body. It’s still unknown how long it will take to return Patarkatsishvili’s body to Georgia. It may be several weeks.”