The messenger logo

Press Scanner

Compiled by Messenger Staff
Thursday, July 15
New Constitution opens every door to Saakashvili

Akhali Taoba writes that the public may remember that the State Constitutional Commission sent a version of its new draft of the Constitution to the Venice Commission recently but this differed from the version presented to the public. Demetrashvili’s Commission was let off lightly over this.

Zurab Jibghashvili, a member of the State Constitutional Commission, states that "The basic version put to a vote at the Commission sitting was not posted on its official website. There is an essential difference between those two versions. We voted for a draft which was containing the rules for further revision of the Constitution, but this part was excluded from the version posted on the official website of the Commission. This means that not only were the English and Georgian versions sent to the Venice Commission different, but there were different Georgian versions as well. Tthere are several Georgian versions of this draft," Jibghashvili states.

Jibghashvili says that the Government is doing its best to push through a Constitution which will serve the interests of the Nationals but means of various tricks. The members of the State Constitutional Commission however say that the new Constitution should help the public control the Government and hinder the ‘games’ of the authorities, the newspaper says.

Lavrov hints that Moscow might encourage ethnic conflicts in Georgia

Rezonansi writes that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has drafted a new timetable for removing the Government of Georgia. In an interview with TV company Mir Lavrov implied that tensions would be aroused between Armenians and Azerbaijanis living in Georgia. He urged Georgians "to restore relations with the Abkhazians and Ossetians living in the region along with Armenians and Azerbaijanis and members of other ethnic minorities who live in Georgia."

Lavrov accused Georgia of violating the rights of its ethnic minorities and said that the Council of Europe either ignores or keeps silence about this. Lavrov is the first Russian official who has openly indicated that Moscow might encourage disaffection among ethnic minorities in Georgia. He said that the Georgian Government is illegitimate and Saakashvili was brought to power by external powers.

The newspaper says that Moscow seems to have stopped supporting its political proteges in Georgia. Nino Burjanadze has practically left politics and Zurab Noghaideli has stated that he has suspended cooperation with the Russian authorities. This is the third failed Moscow attempt to establish a pro-Russian camp in Georgia. The Russian authorities have not suggested making any attempt to rouse discontent among the ethnic minorities in Georgia until now, but this is a signal prior to the Parliamentary and Presidential elections of 2012.

Analyst Vladimir Sokor says that, "The ethnic minority situation in Georgia is not absolutely calm, given the disputes over the status of the Armenian church and its problems with building churches. But no international organisation can confirm Lavrov's accusations that the rights of ethnic minorities are violated in Georgia. Russian intervention in this sphere looks like a desire by Moscow to enkindle tension in the ethnic minorities, and if Moscow launches such a policy, it will affect Armenia and Azerbaijan as well. A stable Georgia ruled by a Government oriented towards the West is vitally significant for the Azerbaijani Government, and the Moslem religious hierarchy always encourages the Azerbaijani population living in Georgia to be loyal to the Georgian state and Government. The Azerbaijani Government provides Azerbaijani villages in Georgia with various social assistance and Armenian Governments have always maintained good relations with Georgia, despite the latter's enmity towards Russia. However, if Russia encourages Armenia to get involved in the problem of Javakheti the Armenian Government might come under nationalist pressures. Consequently Lavrov’s statement is not only a problem for Tbilisi but Baku and Yerevan as well. If Russia enkindles ethnic tension inside Georgia it will cause greater destabilisation in the South Caucasus than has ever been seen before," Sokor says.