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Revolution: Pros and Cons

By Messenger Staff
Tuesday, August 17
To use a boxing term, the opposition is still groggy after the May 30 elections. However it should blame itself for the condition. But now autumn approaches and with it comes the active season for politics in Georgia. So the opposition prepares for autumn actions even though there is still no unity among the various parties. One part of the opposition is already thinking about so-called revolutionary developments that are mainly non parliamentary opposition. Another part is concerned entirely with opposing parliament and is categorically against any unconstitutional moves; it is completely reliant on the next parliamentary and presidential elections.

The revolution topic is constantly speculated upon, particularly in the Georgian press. Many opposition figures play with this word, most of them pointing out that they believe it is the only possible way to change the Saakashvili administration. Valeri Gelbakhiani, exiled former Member of Parliament, wanted in Georgia for plotting to overthrow the government stated recently that if the Georgian people were to do something radical nobody in Europe would say a word to protect Saakashvili. The international community will support any type of revolution against Saakashvili; his administration needs just a small push and it will be destroyed immediately.

One of the leaders of National Forum, Gubaz Sanikidze thinks that Saakashvili's strengths lie in the opposition's weakness. The President understands that the opposition consists largely of cowards. In the autumn, if people support the opposition, the Saakashvili regime will be finished.

However this path that is being promoted by some members of the opposition is not that easy. In the spring of 2009 protest rallies continued for almost three months, but they were not followed by the resignation of Saakashvili’s administration. Moreover we can say with certainty that the west will not support any unconstitutional actions and consequently any revolution. On the contrary, any kind of speculation about changing the administration through revolutionary actions is unacceptable to westerners. In 2009 many western diplomats in private talks with opposition leaders recommended that they did not violate the constitution and indeed at that time the opposition movement did not act outside the constitutional boundaries. Nevertheless such sentiments still exist within certain segments of Georgia's oppositional spectrum.

However another segment of the opposition categorically opposes any steps towards civil confrontation or violent actions. Some opposition members are sure that the ruling administration pushes the opposition to commit violent acts and break the law so that it can keep its grip on power. Therefore many opposition parties keep repeating that the only way to change the leadership is through elections. Former public defender, now a member of the opposition Sozar Subari believes that a public revolt will be the destruction of Georgia’s statehood which will push the country backwards by at least 20 years.

Supporters of revolutionary moves try to adjust their position. Revolt does not necessarily mean taking up arms; it could be peaceful, thinks Goga Khaindrava, representative of a radical branch of the opposition. Some suggest a form of national disobedience to force this administration to resign. However no-one can guarantee into which forms public disobedience or peaceful revolt progress. For any forces that actually care for the country, elections are the only means for a democratic society to move forward. However more strength should be concentrated on a timely improvement of the elections system. In particular it seems to us that a biometric form of elections should be implemented immediately, together with a serious education programme among the population to explain to people clearly their election rights.