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Anticipating revolution

By Messenger Staff
Friday, May 6
Once again Georgia is living in the anticipation of revolution. The Public Assembly declared that on May 21 massive protest actions will start and they will end with victory. The Georgian population remembers several such “decisive” dates which were named but nothing happened. The population, because of this experience, is rather skeptical about this kind of announcement regarding revolution. However there is still a feeling of expectation and hope in the population.

The Georgian opposition is made up of different philosophies but mainly they are divided into two parts. One part seeks to achieve democratic developments through elections while the other part thinks that the Saakashvili administration cannot be removed by elections. So, according to this opinion the current administration should first leave and only then could the elections be conducted.

In Spring 2009 the Saakashvili administration was under threat as for three months permanent actions were held in the centre of the capital. But this yielded no result. Saakashvili and his team do not intend to resign and give up power, even if the entire population of the capital comes out into the streets. In 2009 the opposition was mostly united however it did not yield a desirable result.

Today even the radically oriented opposition is not homogenous. It is divided into three major groups: the Public assembly with leader Nino Burjanadze alongside five time world champion in chess Nona Gaprindashvili; the second group is represented by Georgian Party which is in the process of establishing its leadership: Irakli Okruashvili, Erosi Kitsmarishvili, Sozar Subari and Levan Gachechiladze. The third part of the radical opposition is the Labour party which has been in such a situation for a long period of time. They have been mostly making statements rather then protest actions on the ground. So, out of these three opposition groups the first to start a protest action is the Public Assembly who have announced the 21st of May as the beginning of protest actions. Their leader is Nino Burjanadze who had already participated in the Rose Revolution together with Saakashvili. The authorities now know when the protest rallies are expected to start and have already started taking preventive measures, discrediting organizers of the protest actions, intimidating possible participants of those actions and other administrative measures. The organizers of this action however mentioned that May 21 will not be the end of the ruling administration but it is beginning of the end. The analysts think that if the Public Assembly will express its protest only by standing in front of parliament it has almost no chance of being successful and after a couple of days people will not come out into the streets. The organizers of the rallies have however insisted that their actions will be seen not just in Tbilisi but in several of Georgia's major cities.

As one of the preventive steps, the ruling administration is using Nino Burjanadze’s voyages to Russia labeling her as a pro Russian force. She of course denies these allegations and has reacted by trying to prove that the current ruling administration is making concessions towards the Kremlin. The part of the opposition which is targeted at elections is distancing itself from the radicals highlighting that revolution could be followed by some uncontrolled and negative consequences. They suggest that during the protest rallies there should be a message of improving the elections environment rather than Saakashvili’s resignation. This would enable these two fronts of the opposition to unite their efforts.