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'Kremlin agent' jibes alive and well in Georgia

By Messenger Staff
Tuesday, June 28
Most of the Georgian population believes that behind the protest actions of May 21-26 there was a Russian plot. At least results of different polling, carried out mostly by non professional entities, seem to suggest. Some challenge this opinion and claim that the government is doing its utmost to manipulate public opinion meaning that true information about what was going on in the capital Tbilisi for those five days and nights from May 21-26 was not released objectively in the media. The state controlled TV stations Imedi and Rustavi 2 did not give a complete picture of the developments, whereas the opposition oriented TV channels Kavkasia and Maestro were mainly covering the capital Tbilisi. So, most of the Georgian population did not feel that it received impartial information.

Despite all of this it should be noted that supposition of Russia's involvement in Georgian events is not completely groundless. However, according to the presumption of innocence, these allegations should be proved by true evidences and facts before coming into the open. Many analysts think that confessions made by those arrested are not convincing. It is widely believed that the police have such expertise and cunning in carrying out investigations and forcing people to confess, that they could make someone confess to killing Julius Caesar.

Many stopped trusting the accusations of persons being Moscow agents ever since Georgia regained independence in the beginning of the 90s. Then the president of Georgia Zviad Gamsakhurdia introduced into political practice the very popular term “Kremlin agent”. Anyone who would oppose the ruling authorities or who would dare to utter other opinion different from the one practiced by the officials was labeled as a Kremlin agent. This ugly tradition continued during Shevardnadze's rule as well where “Moscow agents” were also a very popular term. Unfortunately this approach has continued beyond the rose revolution too. As soon as any serious opposition momentum is gathered in the country, officials reveal recordings of telephone conversations and video shots from the alleged conspiracy against the state coming from the Moscow agents. According to these allegations most of the opposition members are connected with Russian special services. There were photos and video and audio material supposedly ‘proving’ that. However in neither of these cases was any prominent opposition member arrested, tried or put in prison. Against this background, various theories are emerging. Most prominent is the opinion that no Georgian citizen would object and protest if it is revealed that the agents of a foreign country masterminded subversive plans in the country and he should be punished. But this should be proved and proved not only by confession of the alleged agents but by solid, serious and convincing evidence.

Recently the national democrats through their MP Guram Chakhvadze demanded the extradition of former Defence Minister in exile Irakli Okruashvili from France to Georgia. The ruling party members hailed the initiative, but so far no evidence has been produced by the state bodies apart from the confessions of certain people detained and now in pre trial detention. Nobody should doubt that anyone who tries to conspire against the state should be punished accordingly but everything should be done within the rule of law. These witch-hunts must end if Georgia’s claims of becoming a member of the European society are ever to be realized. Everything should be conducted openly and fairly so that there is no doubt among society as to a person's guilt. Only then can we talk about the foundations for democratic development of the country being laid.