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Opposition fight for the Army

By Sopo Datishvili
Wednesday, June 3
On June 2 the leaders of the radical opposition arranged another information briefing outside the Ministry of Defence. They addressed Embassies and international organisations and asked them to control what is happening in the Georgian armed forces.

“After August 2008 the Georgian Government started taking direct executive measures against the Georgian Armed Forces. This tendency became more obvious after the appointment of Bacho Akhalaia, ex-Chief of the Penitentiary Department and one of the most discredited members of the Government, as Deputy Defence Minister. There is a suggestion that the so-called Mukhrovani Coup was staged by the Government because they have decided to involve the armed forces in the political dispute and use them against the people in the streets,” the opposition wrote in their statement.

The leaders named each soldier arrested after the Mukhrovani coup and asked the international community to start monitoring their cases, as the trust of society in the police and court is low.

The opposition also highlighted the attitude of society towards the recent events in the armed forces. “Many professionals, educated in Western military schools, are being dismissed from the armed forces. There are many doubts concerning these latest repressions. These were caused by incomplete information provided by the police and the mutually contradictory statements made by state officials,” they said.

The leader of the Conservative Party, Zviad Dzidziguri, said that the main reason the Saakashvili Government was trying to wreck the Army is that he couldn’t use them against the participants of the protest rallies. “The Army protested against being used against the people, that’s why the Government has started taking such measures against it.”

Eka Beselia of the Movement for United Georgia also highlighted the necessity of involving Embassies and international organisations in this difficult situation. She said that transparent investigations of the cases of the so-called coup plotters would only be possible if they were involved. “The Saakashvili regime attacks the Georgian Army. He has even accused them of cooperation with the Russian intelligence services. The Army is demoralized after the August war,” she added.

The leader of The Way of Georgia, Salome Zourabichvili, also attended the briefing but addressed the solders not the international community. “We are here not because we are against you but because we are against your chiefs, who are doing their best to destroy the Georgian Army. The interests of the armed forces are the most important in every country. We are protecting you because you should protect the country,” she stated.

The opposition leaders made their address to the Embassies and international organisations unanimously. They will also unanimously establish the “Charter of Duties” on June 3 as well. One of the leaders of the Republican Party Tina Khidasheli said that she hoped other political groups would be willing to join this initiative.

“The Charter of Duties will be like our previous Ten Steps to Freedom, but this time we will take into consideration previous mistakes and explain our principles in detail. This will exclude the possibility of people interpreting the charter in different ways, as they did with Ten Steps to Freedom,” Khidasheli said.