The messenger logo

Georgia at the crossroads

By Messenger Staff
Friday, July 22
When confronting the ruling power, the opposition parties demand democratic reforms, transparent elections and other features of democracy. In pursuing this goal, the main ploy of the opposition is to seek the support of the west. However, this is also the policy of the ruling power. The opposition thinks that the west must put pressure on the ruling power in Georgia and force it to act in a genuinely democratic direction and carry out democratic elections, which should be transparent, free and fair. From such elections the opposition hopes to change the ruling administration. Traditions are established by time, unfortunately since the collapse of the Soviet Union, change in Georgian leadership has only been achieved in dramatic fashion with the use of force prominent. In 1992 when Georgia's legal president Gamsakhurdia was ousted by a bloody military coup and again in 2003 the revolutionary mob entered parliament and forced the legal president Shevardnadze to resign. That was later called the Rose Revolution headed by current president Saakashvili. So, holding fair elections which can change the ruling power would mean breaking this unfortunate tradition. This will be the victory of democracy. However the reality is different, the rose administration currently in power intends to stay there for a long period of time and they are laying the foundations to ensure they do so. The plans to move the current president into the PM or chair of the parliament position is one part of the plan. This is roughly similar to the situation in Singapore, a political/economical model which President Saakashvili frequently claims to be the way forward for Georgia.

There are different types of opposition confronting the current administration. Some are revolution oriented. Others are Russian oriented, but there is a segment of the opposition which is western oriented and which wants to establish in the country a real democracy through democratic steps namely, elections. So far this opposition has not received much support from the west, though it has won fairly popular support in previous campaigns.

Today, there is also a broad segment of opposition who still rely on attracting western attention and convincing it that the current administration should go and therefore should secure a smooth and democratic transition of power in the country. However some representatives of the opposition are already skeptical about this possibility. It looks like the west is satisfied with the level of stability and democracy which the Saakashvili administration has established in the country. The west states also that Georgian democracy is far ahead of its neighbouring countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, central Asian states or Belarus. Everything is relative of course. So it appears that the west does not want to change anything in Georgia. In any case, the change of any administration should concern local people primarily, rather than to have outside influences.

The opposition however sends alarming signals to the west claiming that there is a possibility of establishing a neo Bolshevik dictatorship in the country. Many analysts suggest that there are tendencies in the country which show that its leadership is moving away from the democratic direction towards authoritarianism, totalitarianism and dictatorship. These kind of assumptions create nihilism and frustration towards the western values and it should come as no surprise that some segments of the population have turned their eyes and hopes towards Russia again. So once again Georgia is at the crossroads.