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Georgian MP to hunt for former KGB agents

By Temuri Kiguradze
Wednesday, September 2
“There is no KGB now, but its former agents still work for Russian specials services,” stated Georgian MP Gia Tortladze, who has presented a draft law on lustration, at a press conference in Tbilisi on August 30.

The draft law on lustration obliges the state to identify former Soviet special services agents and high Communist Party officials and place restrictions on them taking high positions in the Georgian Government. It is based on corresponding legislation adopted in several East European countries. “We took the soft model of the lustration implemented in the Czech Republic and Lithuania, which doesn’t involve publishing the names of former Soviet agents, just preventing them taking high positions in the Government,” stated Tortladze at the press conference

Among the positions lustrated persons will not be able to fill if the bill becomes law are senior posts in the Cabinet, Presidential administration, Parliament and Security Council and leading management posts in state educational institutions, public television and the Department of Statistics. The draft law also stipulates that current officials proved to have had connections with Soviet special services in the past should be sacked. Answering The Messenger’s question about how many such officials there were Tortladze noted that there were “one hundred thousand named KGB agents in Georgian archives and if even only five thousand of them are active now removing them would be a great step forward in the decommunisation of Georgia.”

Koba Kapanadze, a Georgian legal expert who also attended the press conference, noted that it is “unlikely that the current Georgian Government will provide full anonymity and prevent the misuse of this law for political purposes.” Tortladze answered that it is “impossible” for this draft law to become a tool for the oppression of politicians “unwanted” by the Government. “If a certain official cooperates with the Commission on Lustration and admits his past ties with Soviet Special services his anonymity will be fully protected,” he stated.

Adopting a law on lustration has already been discussed for 15 years in Georgia. The last time one was submitted to a Parliamentary vote was in 2007, when the measure failed with 37 votes for and 45 against. The 2007 law was presented by Kakha Kukava from the Democratic Front group. Tortladze stated that the current draft is based largely on Kukava’s but with certain changes. “According to preliminary negotiations with factions and MPs it seems we now have a real chance of getting this adopted, because the attitude of MPs towards this bill is basically positive,” he said. If the draft is rejected Tortladze is threatening to publish a list of the MPs who voted against it. “The Georgian people should know who in the current Parliament doesn’t want Georgia to become free of its Communist past,” stated Tortladze.