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To overcome soviet inheritance

By Messenger Staff
wednesday, October 27
Georgian parliament has started to debate the Freedom Charter - the draft law on lustration; it will be discussed by the parliamentary factions and then adopted at the plenary session. The initiator of the project is the leader and chairman of the small opposition faction Strong Georgia, Gia Tortladze. However many analysts suppose he is simply airing the ruling power’s position, and the legislation will be adopted easily if ruling majority is in agreement. However both the public and the opposition have a large number of questions. Tortladze’s initiative envisages introducing very strict monitoring of sea, land and air borders as well as strategically important bodies and cargo. The proposed law also facilitates stricter control over financial operations and bank transfers. Most significant though is that this law envisages the registration of secret agents of the Soviet Union special services, creation of a state commission, restricting the former communist party central committee and komsomol members promotions to leading posts as well as certain other activities. The draft project was initiated than a year ago, but Tortladze has only now acted on it adding another initiative to abolish soviet symbols in Georgia.

Similar initiatives were carried out during the Shevardnadze era. Many think that this law should have been adopted immediately after the collapse of the Soviet Union as today people participating in the soviet special services do not create any kind of threat. Some even suspect that if the law is adopted it could be used by officials against some of opposition representatives. Of course there will be some critics of the lustration law because it provides an opportunity to pressurise and manipulate opposition members.

There are a number of arguments over the initiative. The writer Lasha Bugadze thinks that by removing sculptures from the walls or abolishing communist symbol of hammer and sickle we cannot fight Stalin – big or small, or the soviet mentality. Analyst Charles Fernbacks thinks that after the post communist era, the government has changed but still appears very similar to the Stalinist or post Stalinist soviet regime, as power is largely concentrated in the hands of one man, who governs the country by manipulating state structures.

Some analysts in Georgia do not believe there has been any change in the soviet methods of governing even following the Rose Revolution; there have only been minor modifications. Now, fighting openly with soviet symbols could look like a witch hunt, and it will be very difficult to distinguish the truth from allegations. It is much better to give up fighting the symbols and get down to the essential changes, thinks Bugadze.

So, most probably this is a deliberate intention to divert the public’s attention away from serious social problems and other issues to the confrontation between the generations and fighting with political opponents.