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Compiled by Messenger Staff
Thursday, March 24
Ex president on planned protest rallies

In his interview to Asaval-Dasavali, Georgia’s former President Eduard Shevardnadze states that it will be impossible for the whole of Georgia to get involved in planned protest rallies. Last week, former chair of the parliament and now opposition leader Nino Burjanadze said that by the end of April a mass protest rally will begin which will change Saakashvili’s government.

As Shevardnadze explains, this will not be possible as Saakashvili has huge levers including police, parliament, and the army. Shevardnadze also says that people are afraid of such rallies and many of them may do not appear because of personal safety concerns.

The former President commented that no revolutions have ever brought any kind of success in the world and Burjanadze’s planned revolution will have the same effect.

Shevardnadze also says that Saakashvili could be an even better president than others, possibly meaning Burjanadze and others. He said the revolution will not be as easy as it was in 2003.

Ukraine Ex-President summoned to Prosecutor’s Office

According to Russian news agencies, former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma described on Wednesday as a “terrible provocation” the accusations that he had ordered the killing of prominent journalist George Gongadze in 2000, 24 Hours reports.

Ukrainian prosecutors on Tuesday accused Kuchma, the President of Ukraine in 1994-2005, of giving orders to former Interior Minister Yuri Kravchenko to eliminate Gongadze.

"I am absolutely calm; I already said five years ago that this is a terrible provocation against Ukraine. This remains my position," Kuchma told journalists at the Prosecutor General's Office, where he was summoned for questioning.

Gongadze's decapitated body was found in a forest near Kiev in November 2000. A criminal case against Kuchma was initiated a decade later after a secret tape in which he was heard ordering Kravchenko to "deal with" the journalist was released.

Kuchma, who was ordered not to leave Ukraine, said on Wednesday he had been suffering from "the most vicious psychological stress" for already a decade, "that's why I am morally ready to experience all the torments of hell to prove that I am [not guilty]."

He said he was surprised when he learned from media outlets that a criminal case had been initiated against him. The Ukrainian Prosecutor General's Office previously refused to bring Kuchma to trial, saying there were no grounds to do so.

In June 2008, three former employees of the Interior Ministry's criminal investigations department were found guilty of murdering Gongadze. The officers said they killed the journalist on orders from the former head of the ministry's criminal investigations department, Lt. Gen. Oleksiy Pukach.

Pukach evaded arrest and fled to Israel. He was arrested in summer 2009 in Kiev and is awaiting trial.

In September the state prosecutor accused Kravchenko, who was Interior Minister in 2000, of ordering the murder. Kravchenko reportedly committed suicide in 2005.