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Some results of the May 26 confrontation

By Messenger Staff
Monday, May 30
The dispersal of protesters by police in the morning of May 26 remains a major topic of speculation inside Georgia. Some analysts and many politicians have been trying to clarify their position on what happened.

It has been suggested that during the confrontation on May 21-25 when the radical opposition attempted to ignite a revolution, the ruling power turned out to be victorious. The revolution did not happen and now the authorities can control setting up the rules for forthcoming elections. Of course the major reason for the general failure of the opposition was the lack of unity. Even the revolutionary oriented opposition consisted of two groups which could not achieve a consensus. One was the Georgian Party headed by a group of leaders: Okruashvili, Kitsmarishvili, Subari and others while the other was the Public Assembly informally headed by Nino Burjanadze. The Georgian Party started to act about two weeks earlier and seemingly was ready to cooperate with the Public Assembly. But one of its leaders Irakli Okruashvili, currently exiled in France, frustrated the plans of this party by first promising to arrive in Georgia and then refusing to do so which resulted in divisions within the opposition. As for the Public Assembly, despite its radical promises, action plan and resources, their message was vague and was doomed to failure from the very beginning. It has become a tradition in Georgia that every emerging force confronting the ruling power is declared by the latter to be manipulated by Russia. This time the Saakashvili administration has been repeatedly stating that the plot for a revolution or coup d'etat had been written in Russia. The arrested former general Uchava said that actions have to be taken using ‘weapons:’ plastic pipes, wooden shields and hand catapults. There was also speculation about the existence of Molotov cocktails and the arrival of Russian GRU Special Forces. Many analysts openly state that instead of mere accusations, evidence should be provided to prove the existence of such factors, and that those responsible should be brought to justice. So far the accusations are based on the recordings of conversations between the leader of the Public Assembly Nino Burjanadze and her son and very strange discussions at a Supra in a restaurant and also in the head office of the organization. These kinds of allegations, if not proved by real evidence, cause irritation, skepticism and disappointment in the population.

On the other hand the failure of the announced revolution or other revolutions strengthened the position of the ruling power, at least for now. It would be difficult for any of the opposition to gather a serious amount of protesters for more street actions. The event has also created problems for the opposition eight which did not participate in the protest actions. Instead they continued to wait for the ruling authorities' response to proposed improvements in the elections environment in the country. The eight have lost ground because one of its arguments was based on the possible threat of revolutionary developments should the government refuse to negotiate new amendments. Now the revolutionary threat appears to have vanished, the opposition eight has lost a serious lever. As for its second argument which had been based on certain discontent among the west towards the Georgian ruling power, it looks like the western allies are quite satisfied with the Saakashvili administration's conduct despite mentioning that certain violations of law should be investigated transparently. So at the end of the day the ruling authorities were not very flexible in its concessions against the opposition eight and it is unlikely that these negotiations will yield any serious results to satisfy the demands of the opposition eight in holding the forthcoming elections without manipulations. So for the time being the ruling administration has a domineering role, however nobody can predict how long this will last.