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Compiled by Liana Bezhanishvili
Tuesday, December 22
The Government is secretly talking to the separatists

In an interview with Akhali Taoba political analyst Mamuka Areshidze has stated: “Georgians are in Tskhinvali prisons and Ossetians are in Georgian prisons. The Government refuses to hold public negotiations with the enemy but talks to them in corridors."

Asked, so does our Government hold such negotiations? Areshidze replied: “Of course it does. I am not talking about political negotiations but talks on different practical issues. The Government did not stop trying to obtain the release of the prisoners and was talking to David Sanakoev, leader of the human rights body in Tskhinvali. It was continually contacting him.

"I know that there have been some instances of Georgian special services employees bringing forward people who could have been exchanged for detainees on that side when the Ossetians did not bring the prisoners they held. The same was true with Abkhazia. I could not say this before, but now do so directly, that Abkhazia got its swine flu vaccines from the Georgian Government and the Minister of Health of Abkhazia has stated this publicly. Of course there are contacts and I hope that the public understands this. I do not understand why the Government conceals this information, as it would be profitable for it to say that due to our opposition to separatism we still help the Georgian citizens in the separatist regions. These contacts must continue and even increase, I would say.

"I do not believe that the Government did not know about Paata Zakareishvili and the others who went to Tskhinvali. It was terrifying to see Paata Zakareishvili being attacked by journalists from television stations controlled by the Government. They knew very well that they were going there and it is possible that they allowed it,” explained Mamuka Areshidze.

The Government has 23% in Tbilisi, the opposition 35%

"72% of citizens asked by the Institute of Social Research and Analysis said that they intend to participate in the local government elections this spring. But it will take further stimulation to make them turn intention into action. According to the poll, 80% of the Tbilisi electorate welcomes the participation of the non-Parliamentary opposition in the local elections, as street protest rallies are no longer: important and the electorate wants an alternative to street radicalism," sociologist Iago Kachkachishvili has stated in an interview with Mteli Kvira.

"The results of our poll practically coincide with the International Republican Institute's. There is not sufficient motivation to bring people out into the streets. Only political or social collapse or very bad mistakes by the Government will persuade them to come out. The authorities have managed to overcome the crisis of this spring. The political weight of the authorities has returned to what it was before the August 2008 war. The National Movement's rating in Tbilisi is now 23%, whereas it had only 11% in May 2009," Iago Kachkachishvili explains.

"Support for the non-Parliamentary opposition has decreased. The rating of the opposition was 52% in spring but today is only 35%. But the opposition should take into account that the battle is not over yet: 35% is more than 23%. Although this 35% is scattered among different opposition parties, if it can be accumulated in one force that will win. This is possible but hard to see ... how can the Alliance achieve agreement with the other parties when Labour calls Alasania a "second Misha" and the National Forum is not loyal to Alasania and his team at all?" Kachkachishvili asks.