The Government multiplies political blunders according to the opposition
By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, November 1
The Honorary Consul for the U.S. Department of State, Lasha Darbaidze, was suddenly removed from his position on October 31. Georgia’s Foreign Ministry stated that “Darbaidze did not fulfill his duty appropriately and was not carrying out conditions written in the agreement that the Honorary Consul must undertake.” Darbaidze, however, gave another reason for his dismissal which was related to Georgian billionaire and politician, Bidzina Ivanishvili.
“The Honorary Consul did not act in Georgia's interest," Deputy Foreign Minister, Nino Kalandadze stated, pointing to trade-related issues. She pointed out that the Ministry carries out periodic controls on Diplomats and Honorary Consuls and how they fulfil their responsibilities. "Other Consuls will share the same fate unless they fulfil their duties.”
Darbaidze’s version of the dismissal differed significantly from the official one, stating that a person sent by the Georgian authorities met him in the United States and demanded that Ivanishvili's photos be removed from the Consulate’s web page. "The photos showed Ivanishvili and the US Ambassador, John Bass, in a meeting. I refused to comply and due to this I was removed from the position within one day, after I asked why I should removed the photos. I was told that the Consul is influential for the Georgian Diaspora and our interest towards Ivanishvili would have an effect on Georgians living abroad.”
Pursuing political opponents includes those who have differing positions from the Government, according to Our Georgia- Free Democrats' Viktor Dolidze. "If (Darbaidze) was really dismissed for this reason it is obvious he is being pursued for having different views. This is not a surprise for me. What happened to me and Zurab Abashidze (another member of the Free Democrats who was also dismissed by the National Movement Party from high positions in City Hall this week for similar reasons) was the same thing. However, this is the beginning of the end for the current Government," Dolidze said. He stated that the international community and the United States would be interested in the issue. As for the Georgian Diaspora, Dolidze said this is a very important sector of Georgian society and one of the main constituencies for the Free Democrats as well as for Ivanishvili. "How we should address the Georgian Diaspora is being elaborated and will soon be presented.”
“It is regrettable that the current authorities cannot hide their act—instead they behave like a PR service for the opponents—no one would purposely make such PR for Ivanishvili as the Georgian authorities are making, because of their permanent blunders,” said analyst Soso Tsiskarishvili to The Messenger. He added that the Georgian authorities have lost their sense of what is going on, and after the denial of citizenship to Ivanishvili, they are committing a lot of mistakes.