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Rumour and merry-go-round

By Messenger staff
Monday, December 8
Georgia is a country of rumours and whispers. Sometimes these are true, mostly they are what the people hope and wish were true. We should consider the following in the light of this.

On December 5, just about a month after the last Cabinet reshuffle, four more Ministers were changed. Among them was the Minister of Defence. The authorities, as usual, presented this as another step forward for democracy. The opposition, as always, tried to interpret the action according to its own understanding.

The Prime Minister announced the news of the reshuffle, which was rather unexpected, although immediately afterwards the President and PM revealed that the issue had been discussed for several days. The most surprising element was the dismissal of the Minister of Defense, whose hiring and firing are the prerogative of the President, not the PM. This meant the former has sacrificed someone who was a very close ally of his during the Rose Revolution and after. However the necessity of this development had been much speculated about. The country is being battered by two powerful forces, we should agree with Saakaashvili, the results of the Russian invasion and the world economic crisis. “Now, not ordinary but bold decisions are needed. People expect changes. You will see how the Government performs in future. Assessment should be result oriented,” said the President.

The opposition thinks differently. It highlights an emerging new figure in the Georgian political scene – Georgian Ambassador to the UN Irakly Alasania, who submitted his resignation just before the reshuffle and is considered to be a potential opposition leader. “Any kind of “change” of the Government is a farce and a lie. Saakashvili had to do something to overlap with Alasania’s resignation,” states New Rights figure Mamuka Katsitadze. Conservative Kakha Kukava says the same, as does Gia Tsagareishvili. Republican leader David Usupashvili call the reshuffle a symptom of the “agony” of the country’s leadership. All of them have the same argument: the first thing the newly-appointed Foreign Minister did was demand that all Ambassadors and their deputies resign immediately. This was on Friday evening, when the formalities of any new appointment, official presentation to the office and Parliamentary approval of the new person, had not even begun. The opposition is sure that the administration is trying to discredit Alasania by saying that he was fired, and thus everything he does from now on is motivated by a grudge against the Government.

In reality his decision was made before he was sacked, and that is why he was sacked, perhaps. But all this is rumour and guesswork and hope and wish. We have seen no document as of yet and no one knows the real picture.

What is known for sure is that many current opposition figures became such only after they lost their armchairs. It appears those armchairs were all fitted with magic and invisible blinds, which prevented the person from seeing correctly. They immediately recover their ability to see as soon as they lose contact with the magic armchair. So the authorities might well be right when they label such an opposition as an “upset opposition.” They therefore want to apply the same label to Alasania, who is slowly appearing in the party political arena, becoming more and more speculated about in opposition circles as a possible superstar. He and Nino Burjanadze are so far the real alternative candidates being seriously considered. If the Government is really reshuffling because it is scared of one person, who is not as yet a candidate for anything, we are all in trouble.

Rumour has it that there will be more Government changes in January as well. Nobody knows, but as we said Georgia is a country of rumours. Some come true, some don’t, but all express truths about the people who want them to be true. If people are determined to believe certain things, it is risky for any Government to ignore the reasons why.