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European Parliament Resolution Overlooks Ivanishvili Issue

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, November 21
Georgian Minister of Reintegration, Eka Tkeshelashvili, commented on the European Parliament (EP) resolution recognizing the occupation of Georgia's breakaway regions by Russia. She noted that the EP did not mention the name of Bidzina Ivanishvili the billionaire-turned-politician who is claiming political persecution at the hands of the Georgian government. Majority MPs claim that the Russian side was lobbying to have Ivanishvili's claims reflected in the resolution.

On November 17 the EP adopted the resolution demanding the de-occupation of the Georgian territories by Russia, and placing responsibility with Moscow for the ethnic cleansing of the Georgian population from the occupied territories. The major achievement of this resolution is the fact that it officially recognized Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions as occupied by Russia

However, on entering politics Ivanishvili was summarily stripped of his Georgian citizenship making him ineligible to stand in the elections. Suggestions were voiced that this issue might find its way into the EP resolution. However, as it turned out this did not materialize. There were though some issues, such as lawyers’ rights violations, that the EP appealed to the Georgian side to improve, the Ivanishvili issue however was overlooked.

Tkeshelashvili mentioned that the EP was aware of all internal issues in Georgia but decided not to voice the Ivanishvili issue in the resolution. According to her this means that the controversy surrounding Ivanishvili is in fact a non-issue.

The United National Movement MP, Davit Darchiashvili, went further stating that the Russian side had tried to put the issue in the resolution: ”the Russian side lobbied to highlight the issue of pressure placed on political opponents and specifically the issue of Bidzina Ivanishvili in the resolution.” Despite this Russian agitation, the EP ignored the issue.

The opposition thinks that current Georgian issues were reflected in the resolution and there were direct messages for the Georgian government and society. A special statement released by the opposition Republican Party said that “the European Parliament observes not only the permanent problems of Georgia, but those issues as well ongoing in the state over the last month and a half. It pays attention to politically motivated pursuit [of opponents] and this should be followed by an adequate reaction from the authorities and from Georgian society.“ The party also released those points where such issues were put forward in the resolution, ”the authorities should carry out measures for urgent investigation of incidences of lawyers‘ rights violations, cease politically motivated pursuit and punish guilty people, and enable the media to carry out its activities without pressure.”

An analyst and one of the members of Ivanishvili’s Advisors’ Council, Irakli Sesiashvili, said that it was “absurd“ to suggest that the Ivanishvili issue was lobbied by the Russian side. ”In general concrete names and surnames are not written down in the resolution. Those issues, meaning undemocratic actions carried out by the authorities, were reflected in the resolution, that is pressure on political opponents, violations against lawyers, the media, the court and so on, and that was supported by 527 members of the European Parliament, only 23 were against and are they all Russian lobbyists?“ Sesiashvili told The Messenger. He also mentioned that the main aim of the authorities currently is to somehow preserve power and do everything to manage this, ”including changing laws in a day, illegal seizure of cash and so on.” However, based on Sesiashvili Ivanishvili’s interest is not fighting against someone, his interest is changing the current difficult situation in Georgia.